President-elect Donald Trump Announces ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State

Posted by: Fahima Paghmani

fpaghmani@klkntv.com

Abc News: Donald Trump  has selected ExxonMobil  CEO Rex Tillerson as his pick for secretary of state, the transition team announced Tuesday morning in a press release.

"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," Trump said in a statement.

"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."

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Tillerson, who has spent his entire professional career at the oil company, would be the first secretary of state without any government or military experience in American history. Trump met twice with Tillerson in person ahead of his selection, after weeks of meetings with other contenders such as Mitt Romney, Gen. David Petraeus and Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee.

The ExxonMobil executive emerged as a late contender for the job as the nation’s top diplomat.

A supporter of free trade, Tillerson has a professional relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin  dating back to the 1990s. In 2011, ExxonMobil signed an agreement with Rosneft, an energy company majority-owned by the Russian government, to drill for oil in the Arctic.

That relationship was expanded in 2013, but the American oil company started winding it down in 2014 after Russia annexed Crimea, which prompted U.S. sanctions. In 2013, Tillerson received the “Order of Friendship” award from the Russian leader.

Already, a number of Republican senators have expressed concerns about Tillerson’s relationship with Russia, which could pose a challenge for his confirmation in committee votes and on the Senate floor.