Trump picks Exxon chief Rex Tillerson for secretary of state

Chidi Samuel with agency reports

The chief executive of Exxon Mobil, Rex Tillerson, has been tapped by President -elect Donald Trump as his choice for US secretary of state. The announcement on Monday confirmed media reports over the weekend on the impending announcement.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Trump praised Mr Tillerson, 64, as among the “most accomplished business leaders and international dealmakers” in the world.

“Rex Tillerson’s career is the embodiment of the American dream,” Mr Trump said.

“His tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics make him an excellent choice for secretary of state.”

In his reaction, Mr Tillerson said he was “honoured” by the nomination, adding that he shared Mr Trump’s “vision for restoring the credibility of the United States’ foreign relations and advancing our country’s national security”.

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The secretary of state is the most senior US diplomat, responsible for enacting the government’s foreign policy, in the Trump presidency, his in-tray could include everything from handling rows with China to revisiting the nuclear accord with Iran.

 

Mr Tillerson nomination requires senate approval.

Marco Rubio, a republican senator while responding to speculation about Tillerson’s impending nomination was quoted to have said that being “‘a friend of Vladimir is not an attribute I am hoping for from” the next secretary of state while Senator John McCain, a ranking Republican senator, expressed concern over Mr Tillerson’s links to Mr Putin but promised he would get a “fair hearing” in the Senate.