ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson has been selected by United States President-elect Donald Trump to serve as Secretary of State in his incoming cabinet.
Trump confirmed the news via Twitter on Tuesday morning, setting the stage for a contentious Senate confirmation battle and displays the businessman’s desire to ease Washington’s estrangement with Russia.
I have chosen one of the truly great business leaders of the world, Rex Tillerson, Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, to be Secretary of State.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2016
Tillerson, much like Trump, has no formal foreign policy experience on his resume. He has, however, closed massive deals across Eurasia and the Middle East on behalf of the world’s largest energy company, and in the process built close relationships with many world leaders.
“His tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics make him an excellent choice for Secretary of State,” Trump said in the statement.
2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney was also considered to be in the running for the position, after the two were photographed in November having dinner together inside his Trump International Hotel.
Romney confirmed in a Facebook post Monday night that he was not chosen for the role.
“It was an honor to have been considered for secretary of state of our great country. My discussions with President-elect Trump have been both enjoyable and enlightening. I have very high hopes that the new administration will lead the nation to greater strength, prosperity and peace,” he said in Facebook post.
Tillerson’s nomination could spark a clash between the new White House and Capitol Hill, as Republicans including Sens. John McCain and Marco Rubio are very concerned about the close relationship Tillerson has built with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Tillerson, a 64-year-old multi-millionaire, fits in with Trump’s incoming cabinet filled with wealthy Wall Street titans and corporate bosses.
(Photo credit: Getty Images/Bloomberg/Contributor)