Vincent J. Viola is the Chairman, Owner and Governor of Sunrise Sports & Entertainment, the Florida Panthers Hockey Club, the BB&T Center, and SSE's additional operating entities. Mr. Viola also co-owns the 2017 Kentucky Derby winning horse, Always Dreaming and co-owns 2019 Breeder's Cup Classic winner Vino Rosso.
Mr. Viola is currently the Chairman Emeritus of Virtu Financial, one of the nation's foremost provider of financial technology products and services. He began his career in the financial services industry on the floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange and rose to be Vice Chairman (1993-1996) and Chairman (2001-2004). Mr. Viola is also the founder and largest stockholder in Independent Bank Group, Inc, a community banking chain headquartered in McKinney, Texas that he founded in 1989. In 2009, he was inducted in to the Futures Industry Association Hall of Fame.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Mr. Viola graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1977, and subsequently completed U.S. Army Airborne, Air Assault, Infantry, and Ranger Schools. He then served as an infantry officer in the 101st Airborne Division. In 1983, he graduated from the New York Law School.
Mr. Viola decisively led the New York Mercantile Exchange through the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Mr. Viola was recognized by the members and the Board of Directors of the New York Mercantile Exchange for his efforts in leading the reopening of the New York Mercantile Exchange following the terrorist attacks with a citation noting "his untiring efforts and inspirational guidance that resulted in the reopening of the New York Mercantile Exchange following the terrorist destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001."
Shortly after September 11, 2001, Mr. Viola conceived, founded, and funded the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, now in its sixteenth year of operation.
Mr. Viola has been widely recognized for his philanthropic endeavors including to his alma mater through various gifts. Mr. Viola is a benefactor of the Columbia University medical school. He has also been honored as "Man of the Year" by the Chai Lifeline. His charitable endeavors further include donations to Fordham University.
After purchasing the Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Mr. Viola immediately revitalized the Panthers foundation and focused its efforts on serving veterans, growing youth hockey, investing in children's education, and the conservation of the panther. The foundation has become a staple in South Florida and has responded to several community needs such as Hurricane Irma relief efforts.
Mr. Viola and his wife, Teresa, have three sons - John, Michael and Travis.
Douglas A. Cifu is the Vice Chairman, Partner and Alternate Governor of Sunrise Sports & Entertainment, the Florida Panthers Hockey Club, BB&T Center, and SSE's additional operating entities.
Cifu, and Owner Vincent J. Viola, purchased the Panthers enterprise on Sept. 27, 2013. A native of Syosset, N.Y., Cifu graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia University in 1987 where he was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and completed his J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1990.
Cifu is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Virtu Financial, LLC a global electronic market making firm and was one of the company's co-founders with Vincent Viola in 2008. Mr. Cifu also serves on the board of Independent Bank of Texas (NASDAQ: IBTX), a community banking chain based in Mckinney, Texas and Eastern Airlines, inc.
Prior to joining Virtu, Cifu practiced law for 18 years and was a partner at the international law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. While there, Cifu served as a member of the Management Committee, was Deputy Chair of the Corporate Department, and co-head of the Private Equity Group. Highly regarded by his peers, Cifu was recognized in Chambers USA and Legal 500 as a leading mergers and acquisitions lawyer for buyouts and private equity transactions.
Cifu has a residence in Mirasol, Fla. with his wife, Melissa Lautenberg Cifu, their daughter, Rachel, and son, Daniel.