Three things you need to know about Rex Tillerson

Lynsey Barber
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Rex Tillerson started his career at Exxon decades ago (Source: Getty)

Rex Tillerson is officially President-elect Donald Trump's pick for secretary of state, one of the top posts in his team.

After one of the favourites for the job, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliana, ruled himself out, it's now Rex W Tillerson who has been named to the job, confirming widespread speculation.

Trump himself even teased the speculation further after meeting with the Exxon Mobil boss.

So, just who is the businessman? Here's what you need to know...

1. A Texan

Tillerson is a native of Texas and still lives there today, where Exxon's headquarters is located, so there's perhaps no surprise that the 64-year-old made his career an oil-based one... until now, that is.

2. An Exxon lifer

He certainly can't be accused of being a career politician, spending his life at the world's biggest oil company.

He commenced his career joining Exxon in 1975 as a production engineer, working his way up the company in several roles, in Texas and beyond, and has been the boss of the oil company for the last decade.

3. A friend of Russia

According to the New York Times, Tillerson has known Vladimir Putin for more than two decades.

In 2013, Putin gave him the Order of Friendship, an award for foreigners fostering co-operation with Russia, although that was before US relations went downhill as a result of the Crimea annexation and sanctions against the country.

Exxon's tie-up with Russia's Rosneft and other forays into the country since the 90s, including in the Arctic, were put on ice when sanctions were imposed, costing the oil company more than $1bn. Many of the company's connections with the Kremlin were fostered by deal-maker Tillerson.

Trump's indication that he wants relations with Russia to could thaw would seem even more likely with the addition of Tillerson to the Trump administration.

But, senator John McCain called the relationship with Putin a "matter of concern".

With revelations that Russia most likely intervened in the US election (US intelligence officials are confident that the country was behind the leak of emails from the Democrats to Wikileaks), that concern might become more widespread.

... And what about at Exxon?

Tillerson is likely to hand over the reigns at the oil giant to president Darren Woods. Another stalwart, he was promoted to the position last year and joined the board in a move that labelled him the heir apparent.

Shares in Exxon were up just over one per cent in pre-market trading following the news.

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