WASHINGTON: Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, presidential candidate and co-founder of the Bloomberg media empire, is the new head of the Defense Innovation Board.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby announced Bloomberg’s appointment to the role during a Wednesday press briefing, calling him an “entrepreneur and leader” who “will bring a wealth of experience in technology innovation, Business and Government” to the Board of Directors.
“His leadership will be essential in ensuring that the department has access to the best and brightest minds in science and technology innovation, through the team of diverse experts he will lead and as chairman of this advice,” Kirby said.
Created in 2016, the Defense Innovation Board exists to provide expert recommendations to Pentagon leaders — but not to develop or implement policy — on topics including AI, software, data and digital modernization. . As chairman, Bloomberg will lead a board of directors made up of business executives, technologists and thought leaders from outside the traditional defense space.
Bloomberg, 79, is a somewhat surprising addition to a group that previously included famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
Bloomberg is best known as Mayor of New York from 2002 to 2013 and ran under the Democratic and Republican tickets throughout his life. He is the co-founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, a media and financial analytics firm, and has a net worth of $70 billion, according to Forbes.
Most recently, in 2020, Bloomberg ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in a self-funded campaign. However, he gained little ground in a crowded field, and his campaign was plagued by media reports reminiscent of earlier lawsuits filed by women who accused Bloomberg of sexual harassment throughout his career, as detailed by The Washington Post and other outlets – notable, as he was selected for the role at a time when senior defense officials have stressed the need to improve the way they handle allegations of sexual assault and harassment. (Bloomberg denied the allegations.)
Last January, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin halted all activities of the Pentagon’s advisory boards so the department could review their effectiveness — and, unofficially, to remove a number of controversial additions to the advice made in the last days of the outgoing Trump administration. The Department of Defense is expected to announce the resumption of the commissions, along with their new leadership, later today, Kirby said.
Bloomberg will replace Mark Sirangelo, a former Sierra Nevada Corp executive. who took over as Chairman of the Board in 2020.