“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, 70, said in a statement, via NBC News. “His tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics make him an excellent choice for Secretary of State. He will promote regional stability and focus on the core national security interests of the United States.”
He added: “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.”
The former Celebrity Apprentice host announced on Monday that he would be revealing his pick on Tuesday morning. He first broke the news to his more than 17 million Twitter followers.
“I have chosen one of the truly great business leaders of the world, Rex Tillerson, Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, to be Secretary of State,” he wrote.
Russian President, Vladimir Putin (R) and Rex Tillerson (L), Chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil during a signing ceremony for an arctic oil exploration deal between Exxon Mobil and Rosneft on August, 30, 2011 in Sochi, Russia.
Like his previous Cabinet choices, Trump’s decision is raising some eyebrows. Tillerson, 64, has close ties with Russia since meeting President Vladmir Putin in 1999. According to MSNBC, the two have done business together for more than 20 years. In 2013, Putin, 64, awarded Tillerson with Russia’s Order of Friendship, two years after Exxon Mobil signed a multibillion-dollar deal with Russia’s largest state-owned oil company, Rosneft.
Tillerson, who has no government or diplomatic experience, began working at ExxonMobil as a production engineer in 1975.