Recent sources are reporting that ExxonMobile CEO Rex Tillerson is expected to be nominated by Donald Trump as Secretary of State.
This news comes following the announcement on Friday that former NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani withdrew his name from consideration for the position.
H/T Washington Post:
Tillerson’s hardly an unknown character on the world stage, but he’s likely not too familiar to Americans. As such, we’ve put together a brief profile of the man who may soon be in charge of America’s international diplomacy.
Tillerson has no experience in the public sector, a first in modern history for a potential secretary of state. Tillerson, 64, joined ExxonMobil in 1975, after receiving a civil engineering degree from the University of Texas. He worked his way up through the ranks, beginning as a production engineer and becoming chairman and chief executive officer in 2006.
On Twitter, a former ExxonMobil employee who is now at Brookings defended Tillerson’s experience. “Oil folks know stuff: anyone who manages multibillion dollar, multi-decade projects needs deep, nuanced understanding of political context,” Suzanne Maloney wrote. “Tillerson rose to top of a company that prizes technical excellence, rock-solid financials, hard work and integrity. State could do a lot worse.”
Tillerson received the Order of Friendship from Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2013. Tillerson’s work with ExxonMobil included a stretch working for Exxon Neftegas Ltd., putting him in charge of the subsidiary’s fields in Russia and the Caspian Sea.
Two years before receiving the award, ExxonMobil won a contract to explore for oil in a Russia-controlled portion of the Arctic Ocean, which was made more economically viable for drilling in part thanks to the sea ice decline that’s followed global warming.
Tillerson’s stake in ExxonMobil will certainly raise questions at a confirmation hearing. Once Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, the United States instituted sanctions against Russia which froze ExxonMobil’s Arctic agreement. Were those sanctions to be lifted, the deal would likely move forward — making Tillerson’s shares of ExxonMobil stock much more valuable.
Tillerson’s position on climate change may be to the left of Trump’s. ExxonMobil understood the connection between greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel use and the warming climate as early as 1977, according to recent reporting.
Tillerson is a lifelong Boy Scout. Tillerson was an Eagle Scout in his youth and eventually became president of the national organization. It was under his leadership — and through his advocacy — that the organization embraced the membership of young men who identified as gay.
Tillerson’s positions on a range of other political issues are largely unknown. Climate change is central to what we know about Tillerson, thanks to the industry of his long-term employer. The Wall Street Journal notes that Tillerson supports free trade — which, as a CEO of a major international corporation, is probably a natural position.
According to Trump spokesman, Jason Miller on Twitter:
Transition Update: No announcements on Secretary of State until next week at the earliest.
According to NBC news sources:
Tillerson, of Wichita Falls, Texas, has already notified his corporate board about taking on the new role, sources told NBC News. He is set to retire from ExxonMobil next year, Reuters reported.
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