Exxon Mobil chief Rex Tillerson confirmed as Donald Trump's secretary of state but President-elect delays business interest announcement

Donald Trump Holds Weekend Meetings In Bedminster, NJ
Donald Trump will need to explain how he will unravel his positions in a raft of business interests (Source: Getty)

The boss of the world's biggest oil company, Exxon Mobil, has been confirmed as President-elect Donald Trump's secretary of state.

Rex Tillerson had been widely tipped for the role as America's top diplomat, though other figures such as former CIA chief David Petraeus and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney had also been considered.

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Trump's transition team sought approval from a host of former heavy-hitting politicians including two former secretaries of state, James Baker and Condoleeza Rice, and ex-defense secretary Robert Gates.

Such approval is believed to be pivotal in gaining Senate approval for the role given Tillerson's close ties to Russia.

In 2013, President Vladimir Putin awarded the Order of Friendship to Tillerson, citing his work "strengthening cooperation in the energy sector."

However, Trump believes Tillerson can adequately address any questions about his ties to Russia, an official said.

A statement from Trump's transition team said:

His tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics make him an excellent choice for secretary of state. He will promote regional stability and focus on the core national security interests of the United States.

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (
Tillerson is known for a good working relationship with the Russian President (Source: Getty)

The President-elect has also announced he will need to push back a formal announcement of how he will extricate himself from running his business empire when he takes office.

His various business interests, which include a golf resort in Scotland, present a significant conflict of interest for the man who will be making key economic decisions on behalf of the world superpower.

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Trump was due to make announcement on Thursday to detail how he planned to separate himself from his prior business interests.

But overnight a spokesperson for Trump said the announcement would be in January and gave no reason for the delay.

The Trump Organisation has previously said it was looking at new business structures to transfer control to three of his children prior to Trump taking office on 20 January.

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