In another sign that he is serious about a 2016 presidential bid, former Florida governor Jeb Bush resigned from the board of a Florida-based real estate firm, Rayonier Inc.
The move, disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Monday, follows recent announcements that Bush would be resigning from other business obligations. Last week, he said he would be stepping down from the board of Tenet Healthcare Corp, which saw its profits rise from the enactment of President Obama's health-care initiative. Shortly before that, Bush announced he would leave his advisory role with Barclays, the British-based banking firm.
Rayonier, a real estate investment trust that is traded on the New York Stock Exchange, owns and manages millions of acres of forest land in the United States and New Zealand. Its headquarters is in Jacksonville, Fla.
In a form filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday afternoon, Rayonier reported that Bush would step down at the end of the year. Bush has been a director of Rayonier since 2008. "Mr. Bush stated that there are no disagreements between the Company and him related to the Company’s operations, policies or practices," Rayonier's corporate secretary, Christopher A. Van Tuyl, wrote in the SEC filing.
Aides to Bush have said the former governor is reviewing all of his business and civic activities as he contemplates a 2016 race.
"Governor Bush is in the process of reviewing all of his commitments right now, including his business commitments, as he begins to actively explore a potential run. This is a natural step as he transitions his focus," Bush adviser Kristy Campbell said in an e-mail message Monday night.
Bush sits on the boards of several other companies and is chairman of a Florida-based private equity group, Britton Hill Holdings. In mid-December, Bush formally announced that he would launch a political action committee tasked with "exploring a presidential bid.”
His announcement has already begun to draw scrutiny of his business activities. A Bloomberg Businessweek article earlier this month provided details of his private equity investments and suggested they could become an issue during a presidential race, much as Mitt Romney’s private equity profits drew questions in 2012.
In an interview with a Miami television station in early December, Bush defended his business ventures and said comparing his work with Romney’s at Bain Capital is “like comparing an apple to a peanut.”