Trump announces Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson for secretary of state

Tillerson, a businessman with deep ties to Russia, has come to the fore amid mounting support for a congressional probe into Moscow's alleged interference in the US election.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin bestowed a Russian state honour, the Order of Friendship, on Tillerson in 2013, citing his work "strengthening cooperation in the energy sector."

Updated Dec 14, 2016

US President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday picked Exxon Mobil CEO, Rex Tillerson, for the role of secretary of state.

Tillerson is the head of Exxon Mobil, an energy giant that has business ties to Russia. His nomination for secretary of state could add to concerns that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s administration intervened in the US presidential elections in favour of Trump.

Trump praised the business leader as a successful international dealmaker who has led a global operation.

"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," Trump said in a statement.

Tillerson said he shared Trump's "vision for restoring the credibility of the United States' foreign relations and advancing our country's national security."

His appointment came after strong contender Mitt Romney confirmed that he was out.

Tillerson's experience in diplomacy stems from making deals with foreign countries for the world's largest energy company, although questions have been raised about the oil executive's relations with Russia.

The 64-year-old Texan was backed by several Republican establishment figures including former Secretary of State James Baker, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

TRT World’s Jennifer Glasse has more.

TRTWorld and agencies