"I fully support the President’s agenda and the leadership to modernize and rebuild our Navy and Marine Corps, and I will continue to support their efforts outside of the Department of the Navy… However, after an extensive review process, I have determined that I will not be able to satisfy the Office of Government Ethics requirements without undue disruption and materially adverse divestment of my family’s private financial interests," Bilden said in a statement on Sunday, as quoted by the United States Naval Institute (USNI) News website.
Defense Secretary James Mattis expressed disappointment and stated that he would recommend another nominee to Trump in the coming days.
The withdrawal is the second business-related one to take place under Trump. Businessman Vincent Viola turned down his army secretary nomination earlier this month, also stating difficulties over disengaging from his business as the reason.
Bilden, a former military intelligence officer and a businessman, was nominated by Trump in late January. The White House stated Bilden had built long-standing and trusted relationships with the US Navy and Marine Corps through years of national security engagement.