NBC News reported that two sources close to the transition process had stated that Trump intended to nominate the CEO with no political experience to the top post. The sources added that John Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from August 2005 to December 2006 under George W. Bush. will be appointed deputy secretary of state.
As president of Exxon Neftegas Limited Tillerson had business dealings with Russia. Tillerson has close ties with Russian President Vladmir Putin, representing Exxon during the presidency of Boris Yeltsin. John Hamre, the president and CEO of the Center for Strategic and International Studies stated that Tillerson “has had more interactive time with Vladimir Putin than probably any other American with the exception of Henry Kissinger.” In 2013, the Kremlin bestowed the country’s Order of Friendship honor on Tillerson.
NBC reported that in a pre-taped interview set to air Sunday on Fox News, Trump explained why Tillerson would be a good Secretary of State.
“Well, in his case, he’s much more than a business executive, I mean he’s a world-class player,” Trump said. “To me, a great advantage is he knows many of the players, and he knows them well,” Trump added. “He does massive deals in Russia. He does massive deals for the company — not for himself, for the company.”
The sources told NBC that Tillerson notified the Exxon corporate board that he will be accepting the position. Reuters reported that Tillerson would be retiring in March as per Exxon’s mandatory retirement at age 65.