President-elect Donald Trump will nominate Exxon Mobil Corp. CEO Rex Tillerson as his secretary of state, according to a late report on Monday by The New York Times.
An ardent conservative, Tillerson, 64, began his lengthy career in the oil industry as an Exxon production engineer in 1975, working his way up the corporate ladder by leading business units in Yemen, Thailand and Russia before being pegged as the company’s chief executive in 2006. He was expected to retire in 2017 after serving more than four decades with Exxon.
It is Tillerson’s close ties and business relationship with Russian leader Vladimir Putin that have many questioning whether he could obtain the necessary votes to receive confirmation for the cabinet post.
“It’s a matter of concern to me that he has such a close personal relationship with Vladimir Putin and obviously they’ve done enormous deals together,” said Republican Senator John McCain in a CBS interview.
Tillerson appears to be cut from the same cloth as Trump – a man who is a master negotiator and seemingly unwilling to back down to industry and world leaders alike.
Tillerson, a native Texan who hails from Wichita Falls, made a strong and favorable impression with Trump and his closest advisors during a Saturday visit in Manhattan.