Business Personality / U.S. Secretary of State
Rex Tillerson is the former Exxon CEO who became Secretary of State in 2017 under President Donald Trump
. He was let go by Trump in 2018. Rex Tillerson had previously been with Exxon for his entire working career of 41 years. Born in Wichita Falls, Texas, he earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering (or BSCE) at the University of Texas in 1975 before joining Exxon as production engineer the same year, according to his official company biography. He worked his way up through the ranks, becoming general manager of the central production division (1989), production advisor (1992), president of Exxon Yemen Inc. (1995) and vice president of Exxon Ventures (CIS) Inc. and president of Exxon Neftegas Ltd. (1998). In the latter roles he gained extensive experience with Russia and the former Soviet states around the Caspian Sea -- experience that later helped lead to his choice as Secretary of State. (He was awarded the Order of Friendship by Russian president Vladimir Putin
in 2013.) Rex Tillerson completed his climb to Exxon’s executive suite by becoming senior VP of Exxon Mobile Corporation in 2001, president in 2004, and CEO in 2006. He served in that role (and later as chairman of the board) until 2016, when he stepped down after his nomination as Secretary of State. He was confirmed by the Senate on February 1, 2017 and sworn in the same day, succeeding John Kerry
in the job. Tillerson's time at the State Department was rocky, with Tillerson often finding himself at odds with President Trump on issues like North Korea, the Paris climate accords, and Iran. Trump announced on Twitter on March 13, 2018 that "Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service!"