President-elect Donald Trump has apparently chosen ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to become the next U.S. Secretary of State.
Although the nomination is not final until Trump makes an official announcement – and that could come at any time between now and next week – Tillerson appears to be the top pick among all the candidates after former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani excused himself from consideration, leaving former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton as numbers two and three.
Tillerson, 64, has been the top executive at ExxonMobile for several decades, including a stint as president of Exxon Yemen in 1995, a tenure that undoubtedly seasoned the executive in the ways of Arab commerce, if not culture at least somewhat. He met Saturday with the president-elect at Trump Tower in New York City, Trump spokesman Jason Miller confirmed.
Like Trump, he has no government or diplomatic experience, and according to a report Saturday by NBC News, who said two sources from the Trump Transition Team claimed that lack may be addressed by his pairing with Mr. Bolton as his deputy Secretary of State, who would handle the day-to-day management of the department.
Until the appointments are made official, however, nothing is written in stone.
Tillerson reportedly has close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom he has allegedly spent so much time in past years, that only former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger outscores him. He was awarded the country’s Order of Friendship by Putin in 2013.
Tillerson also has a good track record as an advocate and business mogul in the field of natural gas, having acquired XTO Energy, a major natural gas producer.
He also signed a deal to develop oil fields in autonomous Kurdistan in 2011, a move that was in defiance of Iraqi law, which prohibits direct deals with autonomous Kurdistan.
Among other leadership roles, Tillerson also serves as a trustee for the Center for Strategic and International Studies.Hana Levi Julian