August 7, 2019 / 6:51 PM / a year ago

Former Defence Secretary Mattis rejoins General Dynamics board

FILE PHOTO: Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis speaks with the media before an enhanced honor cordon arrival of Greek Minister of Defense Panagiotis Kammenos at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., October 9, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis rejoined the board of General Dynamics Corp (GD.N) on Wednesday, seven months after quitting his job in the Trump administration over disagreements about foreign policy, the defence contractor said.

Mattis, a retired Marine general, had served on General Dynamics’ board but resigned in 2017 to take the top job at the Pentagon after being nominated by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Mattis resigned from the Defence Department in December after clashing with Trump on issues such as the president’s abrupt decision to pull troops out of Syria and Afghanistan.

“Jim is a thoughtful, deliberate and principled leader with a proven track record of selfless service to our nation,” said General Dynamics Chairwoman and Chief Executive Phebe Novakovic in a statement. “We are honoured to have him on our board.”

The Trump administration has been a revolving door for industry executives serving in the government. Former Deputy Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan, who filled the role as acting secretary after Trump pushed Mattis out early, was a Boeing Co (BA.N) executive.

Recently confirmed Defence Secretary Mark Esper is a former lobbyist for weapons company Raytheon Co (RTN.N).

Mattis was often at odds with Trump on major policy points. He reassured North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies in 2017 that it was “the most successful and powerful military alliance in modern history” after Trump questioned the need for the organization.

His resignation was met with discomfort on Capitol Hill from Republicans and Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement at the time he was “particularly distressed” that Mattis was resigning over sharp differences with the president.

Mattis will not engage in lobbying to the Pentagon for at least five years after his departure from the government, according to an ethics pledge issued in a Trump executive order.

Reporting by Bryan Pietsch; editing by Alistair Bell and Richard Chang

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