President-elect Donald Trump has selected the Chief Executive of Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) Rex Tillerson as his Secretary of State. The formal announcement is going to be made on Tuesday morning.
This ends the frantic speculation of who is going to don the top position. According to media reports, Trump was considering a number of candidates, which includes his one-time critic Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman Jr. who is a former presidential candidate and the governor of Utah, Senator Bob Corker, David Petraeus who is a former CIA director, and Rudolph Giuliani, the former New York mayor. All the leading runner-ups have already received calls from Trump.
US Not Comfortable With Rex Tillerson’s Russia Ties
Interestingly, the globe-trotting leader of the American oil and gas corporation is said to be close to Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin, which is a cause for concern for many in the United States. Senator John McCain from Arizona even said that “Tillerson’s connections to Mr. Putin were a matter of concern”. While speaking to Fox News, he added, “Vladimir Putin is a thug, bully, and a murderer, and anybody else who describes him as anything else is lying”.
Other Democrats and Republicans had also challenged Tillerson’s potential selection. Now that he has been selected, Tillerson will definitely be under the scanner even more.
Tillerson, who is 64, has spent the last four decades with Exxon Mobil, working his way up in the business. Much of his time at Exxon has been spent in reaching oil and gas agreements in many of the world’s troubled regions, including Qatar, Kurdistan, Venezuela, and elsewhere. Exxon now operates in 50 countries. He was personally responsible for managing the company’s Russia account. Tillerson has a two-decade long relationship with Russia.
Tillerson’s Pay Will Reduce Substantially
Meanwhile, in a separate development, the Exxon CEO will have to accept big pay cuts now that he has been selected as the Secretary of State. Since 2006 when he became the CEO, Tillerson has made more than $240 million. Last year alone, he earned $24.3 million. But as the top diplomat, he will just make $203,700 a year.
On top of that, Tillerson has also received $96,000 worth of life insurance premiums from Exxon (NYSE:XOM), and close to $74,000 towards personal travel on the company’s jets. Plus, he got to use $24,000 for personal recreation.
All that will go. But Rex Tillerson is not complaining, of course.