Exxon CEO is now Trump's
secretary of state favorite - transition official
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[December 10, 2016]
By Steve Holland
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil
Corp Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson emerged on Friday as
President-elect Donald Trump's leading candidate for U.S. secretary of
state, a senior transition official said.
Trump met Tillerson on Tuesday and may talk to him again over the
weekend, the official said. Trump appears to be in the final days of
deliberations over his top diplomat with an announcement possible next
Tillerson's favored status was revealed as former New York Mayor Rudy
Giuliani formally withdrew from consideration for secretary of state.
The transition official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said
Tillerson, 64, had moved ahead in Trump's deliberations over 2012
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who has met Trump twice,
including at a dinner in New York.
But the official said Romney was still under consideration for the job,
along with John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations;
U.S. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, and retired Navy Admiral James
Giuliani's withdrawal came after he was fully vetted by the Trump
transition team for his overseas business ties in what was described by
the Trump official as an "intense" effort by lawyers and accountants.
Giuliani, who runs a global consulting firm, was given a clean bill of
health, with Trump's aides concluding his business interests would not
pose a risk to his confirmation.
Should Tillerson be nominated, his business ties, too, will come under
scrutiny. Exxon Mobil has operations in more than 50 countries and
boasts that it explores for oil and natural gas on six continents.
In 2011, Exxon Mobil signed a deal with Rosneft, Russia's largest
state-owned oil company, for joint oil exploration and production. Since
then, the companies have formed 10 joint ventures for projects in
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ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson speaks during the IHS
CERAWeek 2015 energy conference in Houston, Texas April 21, 2015.
REUTERS/Daniel Kramer/File Photo
In 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded Tillerson his nation's Order
But U.S. sanctions against Russia for its incursion into Crimea cost Exxon Mobil
dearly, forcing it to scrap some projects and costing it at least $1 billion in
losses. Tillerson has been a vocal critic of the sanctions.
Trump has spoken of wanting warmer relations with Moscow, which has sparked
concerns in Congress that he could lift or loosen some of the sanctions on
Tillerson has been chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil since 2006. He is expected to
retire from the company next year.
Should Tillerson be nominated, climate change could be another divisive issue.
The company is under investigation by the New York Attorney General's Office for
allegedly misleading investors, regulators and the public on what it knew about
(Reporting by Steve Holland and James Oliphant; Editing by Leslie Adler and Lisa
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