Saturday, December 10, 2016

Rex Tillerson, Exxon Mobil CEO, Expected as Nominee for Secretary of State

Collectivist heads will explode.


And at WSJ:

President-elect Donald Trump is expected to nominate Exxon Mobil Corp. Chief Executive Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state, a transition official said Saturday, a selection that would reach outside the traditional foreign policy establishment to elevate a global business deal-maker.

Mr. Trump hasn't yet made a final decision, the official said, but the president-elect heaped praise on Mr. Tillerson in an interview released Saturday.

“He’s more than a business executive; he’s a world-class player,’’ Mr. Trump told Fox News in the interview, to be broadcast Sunday. “He’s in charge of I guess the largest company in the world.”

Mr. Trump called it “a great advantage” that Mr. Tillerson already knows “many of the players,” noting that he does “massive deals in Russia.”

Those deals would be certain to come under scrutiny in confirmation hearings before the Senate. A number of Republicans have urged Mr. Trump to be wary of Russia, warning that it is trying to expand its influence in ways that run counter to U.S. interests in places such as Ukraine and Syria.

The nomination would also put Mr. Trump’s intentions toward Russia in the spotlight just as controversy is intensifying over reports that the Central Intelligence Agency has concluded that a Russian-led hacking effort of U.S. email accounts was intended to boost Mr. Trump’s election chances.

Mr. Tillerson, 64 years old, met privately with Mr. Trump on Saturday, four days after their first meeting.

Among those considered for the post, Mr. Tillerson has perhaps the closest ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, having negotiated a 2011 energy partnership deal with Russia that Mr. Putin said could eventually be worth as much as $500 billion. In 2012, the Kremlin bestowed the country’s Order of Friendship decoration on Mr. Tillerson.

This pre-existing relationship with Mr. Putin complements Mr. Trump’s push to improve U.S.-Russia ties.

Since Mr. Trump began vetting candidates for secretary of state, Mr. Tillerson’s stock has climbed steadily. He moved ahead of better-known hopefuls with established political credentials—including 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney —who had multiple conversations with Mr. Trump about the job. Mr. Tillerson is viewed by some of Mr. Trump’s advisers as a mold-breaking pick who would bring an executive’s experience to the diplomatic role, said a person involved in the process.

Tapping Mr. Tillerson for the job would be a “Trumpian” move, the transition official said.

Mr. Trump is expected to make a formal announcement about his State Department pick in the coming days.

An Exxon spokesman declined to comment.

Mr. Trump said in a statement on Friday that former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani had taken himself out of the running for the diplomatic job and other administration posts late last month.

With Mr. Trump’s decision not yet final, other candidates who remain in the running, apart from Mr. Romney, are former Central Intelligence Agency director David Petraeus, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, and U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.), people familiar with the matter said.

If Mr. Trump selects Mr. Tillerson, it would add a seasoned business executive to a team that already includes three retired generals. As Exxon’s CEO since 2006, Mr. Tillerson could leverage existing relationships with numerous world leaders.