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ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson Nominated as Trump’s Secretary of State

by Countable | 12.13.16

President-elect Donald Trump has nominated Rex Tillerson, the Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, to serve as his Secretary of State. Trump cited Tillerson’s "vast experience at dealing successfully with all types of foreign governments" as a key factor in his selection, adding that he “knows how to manage a global enterprise, which is crucial to running a successful State Department.”

Who is Rex Tillerson?

Tillerson, 64, has served in his current role as chairman and CEO since 2006 but originally began working for Exxon in 1975 as a production engineer. Over time, he rose through the ranks of the global oil and gas company, which is currently the fifth-largest corporation in the world based on market capitalization, spending time heading the company’s production division and its holdings in Russia and the Caspian Sea.

Outside of his duties at ExxonMobil, Tillerson has served as a trustee for the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the American Petroleum Institute, and is a member of the Business Roundtable. He also is a longtime volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America (he was an Eagle Scout in his youth), having served as the organization’s national president and on its executive board. While on the board, he successfully pushed for the Boy Scouts to lift the organization’s ban on participation by gay youth.

Tillerson is a Texas native and currently resides in the Lone Star State with his wife, Renda St. Clair. He graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in civil engineering.

What’s the outlook for his confirmation?

It could be a rocky confirmation process for Tillerson if his detractors move to block his appointment. He has extensive experience making deals with Russia for ExxonMobil and has known Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin since the 1990s. In fact, Putin awarded him the Order of Friendship in 2013. Given the ongoing investigations into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election, senators on both sides of the aisle have expressed unease with the prospect of a Secretary of State with such close ties to Russia.

In terms of other policy areas that could become hang-ups during confirmation hearings, Tillerson has expressed that he believes in man-made climate change and under his leadership ExxonMobil expressed support for the Paris Agreement on climate change and a carbon tax. He has also said that the path to U.S. energy security is through embracing the global energy market, and he has supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership, from which President-elect Trump intends to withdraw to allow individual free-trade agreements to be negotiated with participating countries.

What does the Department of State do?

The State Department advises the president on matters of foreign policy and leads U.S. diplomatic efforts. Its responsibilities include negotiating treaties and international agreements, protecting and assisting U.S. citizens who are traveling overseas, helping American businesses internationally, and keeping the public informed about U.S. foreign policy. It also leads efforts to address such international problems as humanitarian crises caused by war, disasters or disease outbreaks, smuggling nuclear materials, trafficking in guns and narcotics, terrorism and pollution.

In the 2015 fiscal year, the State Department’s budget was nearly $66 billion. The agency has 13,000 Foreign Service employees who handle the agency’s diplomatic operations and 11,000 Civil Service employees, plus an additional 45,000 Foreign Service workers employed in overseas locales.

You can use the "Take Action" button to tell your Senators whether to approve or block Tillerson’s appointment as Secretary of State.

— Eric Revell

(Photo by William Munoz - tillerson / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(1,338)
  • Alan
    12/14/2016
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    Another choice for Putins America

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  • Steven
    12/13/2016
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    Don't piss on my head and tell me it's raining

    Like (19)
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  • Carrie
    12/13/2016
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    Rex Tillerson is a swamp monster. We need to block Donald Trumps appointees who clearly have special interests.

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  • Rebecca
    12/14/2016
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    In the words of PEOTUS "huge" conflict of interest!

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  • Patricia
    12/13/2016
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    Completely unqualified for SOS,

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  • Pamela
    12/13/2016
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    Block appointment.

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  • Brandalyn
    12/13/2016
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    How is this not a huge conflict of interest??!!!!! Oppose this for the sake of the American people. We should not have big oil representing us

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  • Hilary
    12/13/2016
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    The appointment of Rex Tillerson is not in the best interest of the American people, just, perhaps, in the best interest of big business. It seems like a massive conflict of interest to have a man who has spent his life developing business relationships with parts of the world that America has sanctions on, and any sort of international diplomacy would be destroyed by his appointment.

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  • Athina
    12/13/2016
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    Please oppose the appointment of Rex Tillerson. His involvement in the oil industry is a significant conflict of interest.

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  • Rob
    12/13/2016
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    Please block appointment. His involvement with Exxon is a major conflict of interest.

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  • sandmansister
    12/21/2016
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    Please do not help confirm Tillerson as Secretary of State! His ties with Russia and other potential conflicts of interest are too worrisome.

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  • Olivia
    12/13/2016
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    Please block this appointment. He will be a disastrous Secretary of State.

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  • Benjamin
    12/13/2016
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    Please oppose this disaster!

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  • Roberta
    12/13/2016
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    Please. Oppose this nomination with everything you've got. The future belongs to my grandchildren and this appointee puts it at risk.

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  • Dylan
    12/13/2016
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    THIS IS INSANE!!! How in the world are WE the people supposed to trust two insane business at the helm of our nation?

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  • Chelsea
    12/13/2016
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    Dear God, no no and no. For countless reasons.

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  • Ezera
    12/13/2016
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    I oppose the nomination of Rex Tillerson.

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  • Mark
    12/15/2016
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    I find myself constantly disappointed these days. Appointing a man with obvious friendly ties to Vladimir Putin is irresponsible, unethical and a conflict of interest to say the least.

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  • Melissa
    12/13/2016
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    This man is known as a friend to Russia. The CIA has released its findings that Russia may have played a part in electing Donald Trump. I think it is wildly dangerous to confirm an SOS at this time who is close to Russia. Russia is the same country that has allowed the human right violations to continue in Syria, and being its friend should be an embarrassment to the American way of life.

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  • Andrew
    12/13/2016
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    Please for the love of God, Allah, Jesus, whatever and whoever you believe block this appointment.

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