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Exxon's Tillerson chosen as US Secretary of State

by Yasmin Helal on Dec 20, 2016


With the retirement of Tillerson, the ExxonMobil board now is comprised of 12 directors, 11 of whom are non-employees.
With the retirement of Tillerson, the ExxonMobil board now is comprised of 12 directors, 11 of whom are non-employees.

President-elect Donald J Trump this week officially selected Rex W Tillerson, the chief executive of Exxon Mobil, to be his secretary of state.

In saying he will nominate Mr. Tillerson, the president-elect is dismissing bipartisan concerns that the globe-trotting leader of an energy giant has a too-cozy relationship with Vladimir V. Putin, the president of Russia.

A statement from Trump’s transition office early Tuesday brought to an end his public and chaotic deliberations over the nation’s top diplomat — a process that at times veered from rewarding Rudolph W. Giuliani, one of his most loyal supporters, to musing about whether Mitt Romney, one of his most outspoken critics, might be forgiven.

Instead, Trump has decided to risk what looks to be a bruising confirmation fight in the Senate.

In the past several days, Republican and Democratic lawmakers had warned that Tillerson would face intense scrutiny over his two-decade relationship with Russia, which awarded him its Order of Friendship in 2013, and with Putin.

The hearings will also put a focus on ExxonMobil’s business dealings with Moscow. The company has billions of dollars in oil contracts that can go forward only if the United States lifts sanctions against Russia, and Tillerson’s stake in Russia’s energy industry could create a very blurry line between his interests as an oilman and his role as America’s leading diplomat.

As for ExxonMobil’s next chairman and CEO, Darren W. Woods, current president of the organisation’s Corporation, has been elected by the board of directors effective Jan. 1, 2017.

The board of directors congratulated Tillerson on his nomination for the position of U.S. secretary of state.

“We thank Rex for his leadership, service and dedication to ExxonMobil,” said the board. “He led the company with integrity and honour, ensuring that safety and environmental protection were at the forefront of everything we do, generating value for shareholders and highlighting the impressive accomplishments of the company’s diverse workforce throughout the world. We know that his service to the nation as secretary of state will be equally successful and distinguished.”

Tillerson was scheduled to retire in March 2017 when he reached 65, the company’s mandatory retirement age for his position. After consideration, Tillerson concluded, and the board agreed, that given the significant requirements associated with the confirmation process, it was appropriate to move the retirement date.

Woods, 51, was elected president of ExxonMobil and a member of the board of directors in January 2016.

Born in Wichita, Kansas, Woods joined Exxon Company International in 1992. During his career he held various senior domestic and international positions in ExxonMobil Refining & Supply Company, ExxonMobil Chemical Company and Exxon Company International. He also served as manager of ExxonMobil investor relations.

In 2012, he was appointed president of ExxonMobil Refining & Supply Company and a vice president of the corporation. In this role, Woods had primary responsibility for the company’s global refining, supply and transportation activities. In 2014, he was named a senior vice president of the corporation and became a member of its management committee.

Effective and disciplined succession planning is critical to the corporation’s ongoing success and a key component of its competitive advantage. This change in leadership is consistent with the board of directors' succession plan developed years in advance and demonstrates the strength of the management development system.

With the retirement of Tillerson, the ExxonMobil board now is comprised of 12 directors, 11 of whom are non-employees.


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