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Trump Picks Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson As Secretary Of State

from Zero Hedge:

In a move that is certain to infuriate those who see Trump as nothing more than a puppet of the Kremlin, moments ago NBC reported that Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil and late entrant into the SecState race, will be picked by Trump to serve as his next Secretary of State.

As NBC adds, Tillerson met Saturday with Trump at Trump Tower in New York, the president-elect’s spokesperson confirmed.

The selection of Tillerson comes after Trump and his transition team spent weeks searching for someone to fill the post of the top U.S. diplomat. Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani were reportedly in the running. Giuliani said Friday he had taken his name out of consideration.

The 64-year-old Texas oilman, whose friends describe as a staunch conservative, emerged as a Secretary of State contender only last week following a meeting with Trump, when it was speculated that he would consider the offer “due to his sense of patriotic duty and because he is set to retire from the company next year.” Tillerson’s appointment would introduce the potential for sticky conflicts of interest because of his financial stake in Exxon: he owns Exxon shares worth $151 million, according to recent securities filings.

A quick biographical sketch of Tillerson courtesy of the WSJ:

The son of a local Boy Scouts administrator, Tillerson was born in Wichita Falls, Texas. He attended the University of Texas, where he studied civil engineering, was a drummer in the Longhorn band and participated in a community service-oriented fraternity.

He joined Exxon in 1975 and has spent his entire career at the company.

For most of his adult life, he has also been closely involved with the Boy Scouts of America, even occasionally incorporating the Scout Law and Scout Oath into his speeches.  Mr. Tillerson played an instrumental role in leading the organization to change its policy to allow gay youth to participate in 2013, Mr. Hamre said. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates subsequently moved to lift the organization’s ban on gay adult leaders as Boy Scouts president in 2015.  “Most of the reason that organizations fail at change is pretty simple: People don’t understand why,” Mr. Tillerson said in a speech after the 2013 decision, urging leaders to communicate about the policy to help make it successful. “We’re going to serve kids and make the leaders of tomorrow.”

* * *

However it is not his Boy Scout exploits that will be the key talking point for pundits in the coming days, but rather his close relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

According to the WSJ, few U.S. citizens are closer to Mr. Putin than Mr. Tillerson,  a recipient of Russia’s Order of Friendship, bestowed by the president…

… who has known Putin since he represented Exxon’s interests in Russia during the regime of Boris Yeltsin.

“He has had more interactive time with Vladimir Putin than probably any other American with the exception of Henry Kissinger,” said John Hamre, a former deputy defense secretary during the Clinton administration and president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank where Mr. Tillerson is a board member.

Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson with Vladimir Putin, then Russia’s prime minister, at
a signing ceremony in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in August 2011.

In 2011, Mr. Tillerson struck a deal giving Exxon access to prized Arctic resources in Russia as well as allowing Russia’s state oil company, OAO Rosneft, to invest in Exxon concessions all over the world. The following year, the Kremlin bestowed the country’s Order of Friendship decoration on Mr. Tillerson.

Read More @ ZeroHedge.com

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