US President-elect Donald Trump is expected to pick Exxon Mobil Chief Executive Rex Tillerson for the post of the Secretary of State, sources close to the transition process have said.
However, the anonymous sources cautioned that nothing is final till Trump officially announces the pick probably next week, Xinhua news agency reported.
Tillerson, 64, is the Texas-based oil company’s CEO since 2006 and had moved ahead of other candidates for the position of the country’s top diplomat after former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s favourite to be the next US Secretary of State, dropped out of the competition on Friday.
According to the sources, former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton would be Deputy Secretary of State “for day-to-day management of the department”.
Like Trump, Tillerson has no government experience and so far little is known of his views about foreign affairs.
According to the Wall Street Journal, sources said Tillerson’s initial emergence as a candidate for the country’s top diplomat surprised senior Exxon officials, including Tillerson himself.
But in Tillerson, a seasoned business executive, some Trump advisers saw a “mold-breaking pick who would bring an executive’s experience to the diplomatic role”, the journal reported.
As Exxon’s CEO, Tillerson, set to retire from the company next year, oversees business operations in more than 50 countries and has known Russian President Vladimir Putin since 1990s when they first met.
Tillerson was awarded Russia’s Order of Friendship in 2013, a state decoration to reward foreign nationals whose work is aimed at the betterment of relations with Russia.
Tillerson joined Exxon in 1975 and has spent his entire career at the company.
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