Mr. Viola purchased the Panthers enterprise on Sept. 27, 2013.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Mr. Viola graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1977, and later graduated from the U.S. Army Airborne, Infantry and Ranger Schools and served in the 101st Airborne Division. In 1983, he graduated from the New York Law School.
Mr. Viola is currently the Executive Chairman of Virtu Financial and is one of the nation's foremost leaders in electronic trading. 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 (Nasdaq: IBTX), 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.
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 and at the time the New York Mercantile Exchange Board presented Viola 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."
The citation continued, that Mr. Viola's "heroic leadership served as a beacon to thousands of Exchange members and staff, providing us with the fortitude to resume operations and preserve the efficiency of the American economy and global energy and metals markets in the face of this great tragedy…His wholehearted determination, refusal to be thwarted, and skilled comportment with public officials were the impetus behind the Exchange being the only business west of Ground Zero to open on September 17 and for several months thereafter - preserving the livelihoods of tens of thousands of individuals and families in New York and worldwide. His actions embody the American Spirit in its most noble form."
Shortly after September 11, 2001, Mr. Viola conceived, founded and funded the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, now in its tenth year of operation.
Mr. Viola has been widely recognized for his philanthropic endeavors including donating over $10 million to his alma mater through various gifts. Mr. Viola is also a benefactor of the Columbia University medical school, and he and his family created and endowed the Pope John Paul II Family Academy in Bushwick, Brooklyn. He has also been honored as "Man of the Year" by the Chai Lifeline, which provides vital support services for Jewish Children with life-threatening illnesses. His charitable endeavors further include a $2 million donation to Fordham University and founding the National Children's Educational Reform Foundation, which is dedicated to the improvement of inner city education with an emphasis on bilingual programs in immigrant communities.
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.