Exxon Chief Named US Secretary of State

Rex TillersonRex Tillerson

US president-elect, Donald Trump, on Tuesday formally announced Exxon-Mobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson as his nomination to serve as US secretary of state.

“His tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics make him an excellent choice for secretary of state,” the Republican leader said in a statement released by his transition team.

“He will promote regional stability and focus on the core national security interests of the United States.”

According to Aljazeera in an accompanying statement, Tillerson said he was “honored” by his selection and shares Trump’s “vision for restoring the credibility of the United States’ foreign relations and advancing our country’s national security.”

Trump also said that as the nation’s top diplomat, Tillerson would be “a world-class leader” working on behalf of the American people.

Politicians from both major parties have previously raised questions about Tillerson’s ties to Russia, having met President Vladimir Putin several times.

In 2013, Putin bestowed a Russian state honor, the Order of Friendship, on Tillerson, citing his work on “strengthening cooperation in the energy sector”.

Senator John McCain, a leading foreign policy voice and 2008 Republican candidate for president, told Reuters in an interview: “I have concerns. It’s very well known that he has a very close relationship with Vladimir Putin.”

Calling Putin “a KGB agent who is bent on restoring the Russian Empire”, McCain said in the interview that he would await confirmation hearings if Tillerson is nominated before making a judgment on the nomination.

Another Republican, Senator Marco Rubio, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that would review a Tillerson nomination, has voiced similar worries.


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