PoliticsForeign Policy


Trump Appoints Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson As Secretary Of State

Tillerson has no government or diplomatic experience, but he has a lot to gain from changes to State Department policy.
Posted at 6:34 AM, Dec 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-13 06:34:00-05

Donald Trump has tapped Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson for secretary of state.

Tillerson has no government or diplomatic experience, but he has a lot to gain from changes to State Department policy.

In 2011, he negotiated an energy deal with Russia that reportedly could someday be worth up to half a trillion dollars. Yes, trillion with a "T."

SEE MORE: What We Know About Russia's Alleged Meddling During The US Election

Exxon had to call off an Arctic Sea drilling deal in 2014 after Russia was sanctioned for annexing Crimea. Based on what Trump said during the campaign, all signs point to those sanctions going away under his administration.

Russia isn't the only conflict of interest issue facing Tillerson's appointment. Exxon Mobil operates in more than 50 countries worldwide, leaving a tangled web of potential conflicts.

Senate Democrats hinted Tillerson's confirmation hearing could turn into a referendum on climate change. He could face questions, under oath, about whether Exxon knew about the role fossil fuels play in disrupting the climate.