Philip M. Bilden

American businessman.
Pioneering private equity investor in Asia.
Former Military Intelligence Officer.
National security and cybersecurity advocate.

Intro

Philip M. Bilden is an American businessman, pioneering private equity leader in Asia, former Military Intelligence officer, national security & cybersecurity advocate and philanthropist. Mr. Bilden was nominated by President Donald Trump to serve as 76th United States Secretary of the Navy on January 25, 2017. Mr. Bilden announced his decision to withdraw from consideration as 76th Secretary of the Navy in a statement issued by the Pentagon on February 26th.

Business Experience

Mr. Bilden is a recently retired co-founding member and Senior Advisor of HarbourVest Partners, a leading global private equity investment management firm with institutional assets under management currently in excess of $42 billion. He became a founding member of the firm following the management buyout of HarbourVest’s predecessor company in 1997. Mr. Bilden joined the firm in Boston in 1991. He relocated to Hong Kong in 1996 to establish the firm’s Asian presence as a pioneering investor in the region. Mr. Bilden retired from HarbourVest in 2016 after 25 years.

Mr. Bilden has three decades of international management, leadership, and investment experience building an investment management business across global markets with diverse international partners. Throughout his 25-year tenure at HarbourVest Partners, Mr. Bilden served in senior leadership roles in the firm’s global management, including the firm’s six person Executive Committee responsible for governance.

Mr. Bilden established HarbourVest Partners (Asia) Limited, which he led as Managing Director for 15 years. Based in Hong Kong, he was responsible for the firm’s investment strategy and execution, capital raising, and client service activities throughout the Asia Pacific region, managing personnel and partnerships in multiple countries and cultures.

Mr. Bilden served on the advisory boards of numerous international private equity partnerships throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America including funds managed by Bain Capital, KKR, TPG, Brait Capital, Pacific Equity Partners, and CHAMP, among others. He served as the inaugural Chairman of the Asia Advisory Council for the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association (2011-2012).

Mr. Bilden is widely recognized as an industry pioneer and leader in the formation of the Asian private equity industry. He was awarded the Asia Venture Capital Journal Special Achievement award for “outstanding contribution to private equity in the region”  upon completion of his 15th year managing the firm’s Asia business. He was named among “Asia’s 25 Most Influential People in Private Equity” by Asian Investor.

Nominee for Secretary of United States Navy

President Donald J. Trump today announced his intention to nominate Philip Bilden as the 76th Secretary of the Navy.

Mr. Bilden, a highly successful business leader, former Military Intelligence officer, and Naval War College cybersecurity leader will bring strategic leadership, investment discipline, and Asia Pacific regional and cyber expertise to the Department of the Navy.
Bilden has longstanding trusted relationships with senior military leaders, particularly in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, through his years of national security engagement, including service on the Board of Directors of the United States Naval Academy Foundation and the Board of Trustees of the Naval War College Foundation. Mr. Bilden understands the strategic, operational, and readiness challenges our Navy and Marine Corps leaders confront in maintaining our naval maritime presence around the globe.

Mr. Bilden, a highly successful business leader, former Military Intelligence officer, and Naval War College cybersecurity leader will bring strategic leadership, investment discipline, and Asia Pacific regional and cyber expertise to the Department of the Navy. Bilden has longstanding trusted relationships with senior military leaders, particularly in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, through his years of national security engagement, including service on the Board of Directors of the United States Naval Academy Foundation and the Board of Trustees of the Naval War College Foundation. Mr. Bilden understands the strategic, operational, and readiness challenges our Navy and Marine Corps leaders confront in maintaining our naval maritime presence around the globe.

Bilden is deeply committed to military service members and their families, coming from a military family with four consecutive generations of seven Bilden Navy and Army officers, including his two sons who presently serve in the US Navy. He greatly respects the sacrifices that Navy and Marine Corps families make to serve their country.

Mr. Bilden served ten years in the U.S. Army Reserve as a Military Intelligence officer from 1986-1996. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and served through the rank of Captain at Strategic Military Intelligence Detachments supporting the Defense Intelligence Agency. He resigned his commission in 1996 upon relocating to Hong Kong. “As Secretary of the Navy, Philip Bilden will apply his terrific judgement and top-notch management skills to the task of rebuilding our unparalleled Navy,” said President Trump. “Our number of ships is at the lowest point that it has been in decades. Philip Bilden is the right choice to help us expand and modernize our fleet, including surface ships, submarines and aircraft, and ensure America’s naval supremacy for decades to come. I am proud of the men and women of our armed forces. The people who serve in our military are our American heroes, and we honor their service every day.”

“I am deeply humbled and honored to serve as Secretary of the Navy,” said Philip Bilden. “Maintaining the strength, readiness, and capabilities of our maritime force is critical to our national security. If confirmed, I will ensure that our Sailors and Marines have the resources they need to defend our interests around the globe and support our allies with commitment and capability.”

Mr. Bilden has three decades of international management, leadership, and investment experience building an investment management business across global markets with diverse international partners. After 25 years, Mr. Bilden recently retired as a co-founding member and Senior Advisor of HarbourVest Partners, LLC, a leading global private equity investment management firm with institutional assets under management currently in excess of $42 billion. He became a founding member of the firm following the management buyout of HarbourVest’s predecessor company in 1997. Mr. Bilden joined the firm in Boston in 1991 and relocated to Hong Kong in 1996 to establish the firm’s Asian presence as a pioneering investor in the region. Throughout his 25 year tenure at HarbourVest Partners, Mr. Bilden served in senior leadership roles in the firm’s global management, including the firm’s four person Executive Committee responsible for governance.

Mr. Bilden serves on numerous philanthropic boards of non-profit organizations supporting military veterans, national and regional security, and cybersecurity missions. He serves on the Board of Visitors of Georgetown University School of Foreign Service; the Asia Pacific Advisory Board and Dean’s Board of Advisors of Harvard Business School; the Board of Directors of the United States Naval Academy Foundation; and the Board of Trustees of the Naval War College Foundation, where he serves as the inaugural Chairman of the Center for Cyber Conflict Studies.

Mr. Bilden graduated as Distinguished Military Graduate, U.S. Army ROTC, from Georgetown University, earning the President’s Cup as the top graduate in the corps. He received a B.S. (magna cum laude) in Foreign Service from Georgetown University in 1986, with a concentration in International Politics and Soviet bloc studies. Mr. Bilden earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1991.

Military Service

Mr. Bilden served ten years in the U.S. Army Reserve as a Military Intelligence officer from 1986-1996. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and served through the rank of Captain at Strategic Military Intelligence Detachments supporting the Defense Intelligence Agency. He resigned his commission in 1996 upon relocating to Hong Kong.

Mr. Bilden’s family has eight decades of consecutive service in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army by seven family members over four generations.

Mr. Bilden’s father is a retired career naval officer whose 20 year service in the U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps included a combat tour with the Seabees in Vietnam. Bilden’s mother grew up in a Navy family whose father attended the U.S. Naval Academy and served in World War II in both the European and Asia Pacific theaters.

Mr. Bilden’s two brothers served as officers in the U.S. Army in the Armor and Aviation branches.

Both of Mr. Bilden’s sons serve in the U.S. Navy. His oldest son is a 2015 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and an Ensign, USN, in Aviation training in Pensacola. His second son is a Midshipman Second Class, USNA, Class of 2018.

National Security & Cybersecurity Advocacy and Philanthropy

Mr. Bilden has been active in U.S. national and regional security initiatives and support over three decades. Mr. Bilden and his wife, Patricia, have established several Bilden Family endowed funds for U.S. military veterans scholarship fellowships and faculty support for U.S. national security, U.S. Asia Pacific regional security, and national cybersecurity curricula at leading academic institutions including Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies; Harvard Business School and HBS Asia Pacific Research Centers; the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation, and the U.S. Naval War College Foundation.

Mr. Bilden serves as the inaugural Chairman of the Center for Cyber Conflict Studies Task Force at the Naval War College Foundation. Mr. Bilden has convened distinguished leaders from the US military, intelligence community, legislative branch, policy organizations, and private sector to address the challenges of cyber resilience of critical infrastructure at the national level impacting the U.S. Navy and the nation.

Mr. Bilden serves on the Board of Directors of the United States Naval Academy Foundation; the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee of the Naval War College Foundation; the Cyber & Tech Council of Business Executives for National Security; the Asia Pacific Advisory Board and Dean’s Board of Advisors of Harvard Business School; and the Board of Visitors of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Early Life & Education

Mr. Bilden was born in 1964 and attended eight American public primary and secondary schools in five states as the son of a Navy officer with numerous duty stations across the United States. Mr. Bilden was valedictorian of his high school graduating class in Zionsville, Indiana. He was awarded both U.S. Army R.O.T.C. and U.S. Navy R.O.T.C. scholarships, and selected the former when he enrolled at Georgetown University.

Mr. Bilden graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service, magna cum laude, in 1986 from Georgetown University with a concentration in International Politics focused in Soviet bloc studies and a proficiency in Spanish. He received Georgetown’s W. Coleman Nevils Award for U.S. Diplomatic History for his thesis: Alfred Thayer Mahan’s Theory of Sea Power. He graduated as a Distinguished Military Graduate, United States Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, where he was awarded the President’s Cup as the top graduate of the Georgetown ROTC brigade.

Mr. Bilden received his Masters of Business Administration from Harvard Business School in 1991.

Personal Life

Mr. Bilden and his wife, Patricia Bilden, have been married three decades. They attended Georgetown University together and subsequently were married at Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown. Patricia is a retired dermatologist originally from Iowa. The Bildens have three adult children who were educated in Hong Kong for two decades and are fluent in Mandarin Chinese.
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