President-elect Donald Trump has appointed Robert "Woody" Johnson, owner of the New York Jets, to the plum diplomatic post of U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom, The New York Times reported Thursday.
During remarks at a luncheon in Washington, Trump referred to Johnson as "ambassador" and said he was "going to St. James." He also congratulated Johnson on the apparent appointment.
Johnson's new role is known formally in the United Kingdom as ambassador of the United States to the Court of St James's.
Although an official announcement about the appointment has not been made, incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirmed Johnson's selection for the position, CNN reported.
Johnson, a billionaire businessman who has owned the Jets since 2000, has long been the rumored leading candidate for the position but he repeatedly shied away from commenting on it.
The Jets and Johnson have yet to comment on what appears to be his pending appointment or how it will impact the team’s business leadership. While Johnson is expected to maintain ownership of the team, he probably will have to surrender day-to-day operations.
Johnson is the great-grandson of Robert Wood Johnson I, the co-founder of Johnson & Johnson, and one of a dozen heirs to the company's fortune, according to The New York Times.
A request for comment from Trump's transition team was not immediately returned.
With Reuters and Newsday