Rex Tillerson

Rex Tillerson is Trump's Secretary of the Department of State.

  • Rex Wayne Tillerson, born March 23, 1952. Married with four children Source: ABCNews

  • Son of a professional Boy Scout leader in Wichita Falls, Texas Source: NYTimes & NPR & WSJ
  • Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from University of Texas at Austin Source: NYTimes & NPR & WSJ
  • Joined Exxon on graduation in 1975 and worked his way up. Source: NYTimes  & NPR
  • Has overseen ExxonMobil's holdings in Russia since 1990's Source: ABCNews
  • Brought Igor Sechin, Putin's friend, confidante, and former KGB agent, to United States in April 2012 Source: NYTimes & NPR  On 04/28/2016 Sechin named target of US Sanctions Source: US Department of Treasury
  • member of U.S.-Russia Business council Source: NYTimes
  • Exxon and Rosneft? a $500 billion joint venture in 2011 to drill for oil on the Arctic shelf and the Black Sea and another huge deal to develop shale oil deposits in Siberia. Those projects were shelved in 2014, after the West imposed sanctions on Russia for Mr. Putin’s actions in Crimea and Ukraine. Source: NYTimes & The Wall Street Journal
  • The Russian government gave him the country’s Order of Friendship decoration in 2012 Source: NYTimes & ExxonMobil & The Wall Street Journal
  • According to company filings this year, Mr. Tillerson owned $218 million in Exxon Mobil company stock, and his pension plan was worth nearly $70 million. Source: NYTimes  His 2.6 million shares of Exxon = $228 million value in early December Source: Bloomberg
  • expected to encourage the permitting of the Keystone XL Pipeline and to try to smooth relationships with Mexico City due to Mexico's growing natural gas market. Source: NYtimes
  • some energy experts believe he may encourage Trump to support Paris Climate Agreement with emphasis on natural gas and ways to bury carbon waste. Source: NYtimes & Time
  • Last year, he was paid a base salary of $3,047,000, with $2,386,000 in a cash bonus and $18,288,000 in stock. Source: CBSNews & Tillerson was paid $27.3 million in salary, bonus, stock awards and other compensation in 2015 Source: Bloomberg
  • He faces mandatory retirement next year, when he reaches his 65th birthday Source: CBSNews & WSJ
  • Tillerson holds 2 million unvested ExxonMobil stocks, that can not be sold and the last of which only fully vests in 2026. Source: CBSNews & WSJ
  • As CEO of ExxonMobil (since 2006), Tillerson is on Forbes' most powerful people list (No. 20 in 2015 and No. 24 in 2016). Source: Forbes 
  • Leaked documents on 12/18/2016 reveal Tillerson is director of US-Russian oil company based in the Bahamas. Source: CommonDreams.org
  • According to Federal Election Commission filings, he donated $50,000 to Mitt Romney's presidential victory fund in 2012 and gave $5,000 to Right to Rise, a super PAC backing Jeb Bush, in August 2015. But his FEC records do not show any donations to Trump during the 2016 campaign. Source: ABCNews
Republican Senators with concerns about his nomination

From The Washington Post

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.): "The one obvious red flag for Tillerson is Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who is also a member of Foreign Relations, where only one Republican vote would endanger the nomination. Rubio expressed “serious concerns” and vowed to ensure a “thorough” vetting of the nominee on the committee.

'The next secretary of state must be someone who views the world with moral clarity, is free of potential conflicts of interest, has a clear sense of America’s interests,' Rubio said."

From The Washington Post

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) echoed Rubio’s call that Tillerson’s views be “closely examined,” such as his relations with China and Russia and views on Middle East tensions. 

From The Washington Post

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who wants a bipartisan investigation of Russian influence on the U.S. elections, said he expects “U.S.-Russia relations to be front-and-center in his confirmation process.” 

From The Hill

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) “I don’t know what Mr. Tillerson’s relationship with Vladimir Putin was, but I’ll tell you it is a matter of concern to me,” 

Exxon conflicts
  • ExxonMobil is planning to resume operations in Russia after sanctions are lifted. Reuters 
  • "The August 2011, OAO NK Rosneft and ExxonMobil concluded a strategic cooperation agreement to establish the framework for joint oil exploration and production in Russia, the United States and other countries. Since the signing of the strategic cooperation agreement, Rosneft and ExxonMobil have formed 10 joint ventures for projects in the Russian Arctic, the Black Sea and western Siberia." Exxon Mobil business in Russia from Exxon Mobil site 
  • ExxonMobil under investigation for climate change fraud. The New York Times The Guardian & LATimes
  • Trump owned ExxonMobil stock. His 2015 financial disclosure filing lists $50,000 to $100,000 worth of assets in ExxonMobil. ABCNews

Timeline

Analysis


  • Economic sanctions on Russia in 2014 were particularly damaging to Exxon Mobil. NYTimes
  • American Government makes it clear they don't want corporate heads attending Russia's premier business conference which Tillerson complied with until 2016, angering the American government. NYTimes
  • Tillerson could expedite lifting Russian sanctions if confirmed.
  • Exxon's plan to help Tillerson rid himself of stocks and defer his taxes may run afoul of the IRS (NYTimes)

Assessments

Clifford Krauss — The New York Times

Krauss discusses the shift in foreign policy indicated by Trump's choice of Rex Tillerson:

David L. Goldwyn, the State Department’s top energy diplomat during the first Obama administration, commenting on Trump's choice: "He has definitely decided to do a reverse Nixon and side with Russia against China. He thinks we probably can make common cause with Russia in Syria but also in Libya, and he doesn’t have a problem supporting strongmen." 

"Mr. Tillerson is not always easy to define. Deeply conservative and committed to the Boy Scouts of America, he quietly pushed the organization to be open to gay rights. But under his leadership, Exxon was slow to adopt explicit policies protecting gay employees from discrimination.

Terry Gross — Fresh Air on NPR

 Gross interviews Steve Coll, author of PRIVATE EMPIRE: ExxonMobil and American Power:

"ExxonMobil is a very large corporation that really sees itself as an independent sovereign in the world. It has revenue the size of the economy of South Africa. It operates all over the world, negotiating with leaders on behalf of its shareholders. It's kind of a parallel quasi-state."

Fred Kaplan — Slate

Kaplan points out Tillerson's role in pushing the Boy Scouts of America to accept gays:

"Gates and Tillerson both supported the move to allow gays into the scouts." 

Justin Worland — Time

Worland discusses the impact of Tillerson's appointment as Secretary of State on climate change:

"Tillerson, who first joined Exxon in 1975 upon graduating from college, accepts the scientific consensus that man-made climate change is occurring, but also has a vested financial interest in avoiding strong action to address global warming. The company he runs remains under investigation for misleading investors on the risks of climate change for decades to avoid harming its business." 

Bill McKibben – The Guardian

On Jan. 11, 2017, McKibben examined what Tillerson's confirmation means:

"All in all, it’s hard to imagine a single hire that could do more damage to the planet (though the rest of Trump’s cabinet will doubtless give him a run for his money). Making this man secretary of state rewards climate denial, further warps our foreign policy towards oil and does it at the precise moment when every bit of data screams that we should be going in the opposite direction.

"The only consolation is that it removes all the window-dressing. Big Oil will run our foreign policy, right out in the open."


Further research