Washington: Rex Tillerson, ExxonMobil CEO, was today tapped by US President-elect Donald Trump as his Secretary of State to “reverse years of misguided foreign policies” that weakened America’s security and standing in the world, amid bipartisan concerns over the veteran oilman’s close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Rex Tillerson’s career is the embodiment of the American dream. Through hard work, dedication and smart deal making, Rex rose through the ranks to become CEO of ExxonMobil, one of the world’s largest and most respected companies,” Trump said in a statement.
Among the most accomplished business leaders and international deal-makers in the world, 64-year-old Tillerson has spent his career protecting the jobs of his employees, who number over 70,000, the presidential transition team said.
Guiding operations around the world that include more than 200 offices, Tillerson knows how to manage a global organisation and successfully navigate the complex architecture of world affairs and diverse foreign leaders, it argued.
“As Secretary of State, he will be a forceful and clear-eyed advocate for America’s vital national interests, and help reverse years of misguided foreign policies and actions that have weakened America’s security and standing in the world,” the statement said.
“His tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics make him an excellent choice for Secretary of State,” Trump said, adding that he will promote regional stability and focus on the core national security interests of the United States.
“Rex knows how to manage a global enterprise, which is crucial to running a successful State Department, and his relationships with leaders all over the world are second to none. I can think of no one more prepared, and no one more dedicated, to serve as Secretary of State at this critical time in our history,” Trump said.
Tillerson said he shares Trump’s vision for restoring the credibility of the United States’ foreign relations and advancing American national security.
“We must focus on strengthening our alliances, pursuing shared national interests and enhancing the strength, security and sovereignty of the United States,” he said.
A native Texan Tillerson began his career at Exxon Company, in 1975 as a production engineer. He went on to become the company’s CEO in 2006.
Like Trump, Tillerson has no formal foreign policy experience, but has built close relationships with many world leaders by closing massive deals across Eurasia and the Middle East on behalf of the world’s largest energy company.
Tillerson’s nomination could face intense scrutiny in the Senate due to his close ties with Putin. Trump, who during his presidential campaign praised Putin, wants to improve US’ relationship with Russia which soured in 2014 when Kremlin annexed Crimea.