Rex Tillerson climbed through the ranks of ExxonMobil to become its CEO and chairman in 2006. He functioned as the 69th U.S. secretary of state from February 2017 to March 2018.
His tenure has been marked by clashes with the Trump administration, resulting in his dismissal from the post on March 13, 2018. His entire career was spent at this business, making him the first secretary of state without a previous expertise in the government or army.
What Is Rex Tillerson's Net Worth?
Tillerson rose from small beginnings to collect an estimated $300 million fortune during his career. In the end of 2016 he abandoned ExxonMobil with a retirement package of $180 million; the equivalent money value of his outstanding stock was put into an independent trust to avoid conflicts of interest.
Secretary of State
Among the pressing issues Tillerson needed to deal with in his tenure as secretary of state were a nuclear-armed North Korea, trade issues with China and questions about Iran's compliance with an agreement to freeze its nuclear program. Nevertheless he faced all these issues using a smaller diplomatic corps compared to his predecessors.
His aim was to eliminate personnel overlaps and bureaucratic deadwood, something a lot in the department originally welcomed. However, critics claimed that U.S. diplomacy has been compromised, in large part because of a reduction of employees with specialized knowledge.
Since Tillerson intended to reach an eight percent decrease in fulltime employees, many openings that resulting from resignations, retirement and attrition were left unfilled. Buyouts were also offered to encourage departures. Comparatively new Foreign Service associates have been hired (interest in taking the Foreign Service examination also fell, with 50 percent fewer registrants in 2017 as opposed to 2015).
Tillerson affirmed a proposed White House budget that reduce funding for his department by 30 percent, which would have impacted both diplomacy and foreign aid. However, Congress disliked the steep cuts and okayed a $51 billion budget at the 2018 appropriations bill, $11 billion more than the administration requested.
Back in March 2018, Tillerson again called out China before the first proper visit to Africa as secretary of state, accusing the Asian ability of forging corrupt deals and endangering natural resources in Africa. He also announced a $533 million humanitarian aid package to help people affected by food shortages and conflict in Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia and the Lake Chad Basin, part of the overall strategy of encouraging counterterrorism activity, democracy, governance, investment and trade.
On March 13, 2018, Tillerson's conduct as secretary of state suddenly stopped when President Trump declared via Twitter that he was naming CIA Director Mike Pompeo into this article, with Gina Haspel to become the first woman to head the CIA.
Tillerson didn't immediately comment, leaving the response to a statement by a State Department official. "The Secretary had every intention of staying because of the critical progress made in domestic security," said the announcement. "He will overlook his coworkers at the the Department of State along with the foreign ministers he has worked with all the world."
Tillerson did not associate with Trump ahead of the election, and his selection for secretary of state in December 2016 arrived as a surprise. The then president-elect had been contemplating picks such as 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor. Tillerson's name was thrown in the ring when former Defense Secretary Robert Gates proposed that it Trump (supported by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice).
Another motive Tillerson might have edged out other candidates is his or her height. Senator Bob Corker had also been thought of for the place, but apparently Trump believed the senator was not tall enough (allegedly, Tillerson is 5-foot-10 while Corker stands at 5-foot-7).
Though Trump originally enjoyed Tillerson's design, their working relationship wasn't a smooth one. About October 1, 2017, Trump tweeted that Tillerson was "wasting his time trying to reconcile with Little Rocket Man" (a reference to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un). And when Tillerson was hoping to mediate a dispute between Qatar and its neighbors, the president accused Qatar of funding terrorism.
Tillerson said "the president speaks for himself" when asked about Trump's refusal to condemn white nationalists after violence broke out at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017. And also a report emerged in October 2017 stating Tillerson had called Trump a "moron" earlier in the year; after the secretary gave a press conference lauding president.
Back in March 2018, a collection of leaked emails from the accounts of a dominant Trump fundraiser named Elliott Broidy revealed evidence of a lobbying effort to get the president to fire with his embattled secretary of state. A businessman with interests in the Persian Gulf region, Broidy allegedly was angry that Tillerson did not encourage that the United Arab Emirates in its own dispute with Qatar the previous summer.
Career at Exxon
This place him in control of a firm with around 80,000 employees and annual revenues of $400 billion. He started there as a production engineer in 1975, after graduating college.
Tillerson prospered in Exxon's corporate culture and ended up in charge of overseas operations, which were driven by the urgent need for new oil reserves. To protect the company's investments, Tillerson needed to appraise global conditions in countries as diverse as Venezuela, Nigeria and Iraq. He received help in this from the International Government Relations Group in Exxon, whose staff included former State Department workers.
Exxon has a mandatory retirement age of 65, so Tillerson was already preparing to resign when he had been nominated to become secretary of state.
Tillerson worked with Vladimir Putin in the 1990s, thanks to an Exxon job on Russia's Sakhalin Island. In 2011, Tillerson had ExxonMobil enter into a deal with Russian oil firm Rosneft. Putin, apparently pleased with the deal, awarded Tillerson membership in Russia's Order of Friendship in 2013.
The 2011 agreement could have been worth around $500 billion, but has been placed on hold by U.S. sanctions imposed after Russia invaded Crimea in 2014. In 2017, the Treasury Department fined Exxon $2 million for violating these sanctions in 2014, a decision the company is challenging.
Some officials were concerned about Tillerson's connections to Russia from his years at ExxonMobil, and several senators asked questions regarding those ties during Tillerson's confirmation hearing. In the end he was verified, however, 43 senators voted against him.
At the fall of 2017, Tillerson eliminated the Coordinator for Sanctions Policy office, moving responsibility for sanctions to the Policy Planning Office. The decision was part of his reorganization plan, however, it delayed the execution of sanctions issued for Russia's interference in the 2016 election. It also took a few months for Tillerson to request allocated funds for its Global Engagement Center, a band meant to fight propaganda and disinformation from the malicious and terrorists country actors (Tillerson's view was that he wanted to ensure the funds would be used efficiently).
After Tillerson became head of ExxonMobil, the company began to accept and acknowledge the scientific consensus that the climate is changing. But, Tillerson continued to voice doubts about the immediate need to decrease gas and oil usage to cover the issue, asserting that society would have the ability to adapt to a changing climate.
But, Tillerson did encourage the Paris Agreement on climate change, an international pact to limit greenhouse gas emissions. He could not prevent President Trump from opting to withdraw from the accord in June 2017, however in September Tillerson noted the White House might be amenable to remaining "under the right conditions."
An investigation into whether ExxonMobil deceived investors regarding its understanding of the effects of fossil fuels on climate change has been conducted with the attorney generals of both New York and Massachusetts.
Wife and Children
Tillerson's first wife was Jamie Lee Henry, a high school bandmate. They wed after Tillerson had graduated school, and had twin boys before divorcing.
From 1983 Tillerson had married Renda House, who had a child of her own. The couple had another son collectively in 1988.
It had been Renda who advised Tillerson to become secretary of state. "I did not want this particular job. I didn't find this job," Tillerson admitted in a March 2017 interview with the Independent Journal Review. "My wife said I'm supposed to get this done."
When and Where Was Rex Tillerson Born?
Rex Wayne Tillerson was created on March 23, 1952, in Wichita Falls, Texas. His name was motivated by two Hollywood stars known for portraying cowboys: Rex Allen and John Wayne.
Family Background and Education
Tillerson -- the second of three children -- spent his childhood in Texas and Oklahoma, moving between small cities with his loved ones. His father left a job selling bread for a professional organizer for the Boy Scouts of America; Tillerson became a committed member of the organization who attained the rank of Eagle Scout.
Like his father, Tillerson stayed connected to scouting as an adult. In addition to joining the boards of their federal and Dallas chapters, he also served as national president of the Boy Scouts of America from 2010 to 2012. Within this role Tillerson supported the inclusion of gay scouts.
Tillerson graduated from Huntsville High in Texas and went on into the University of Texas at Austin. There, he studied civil engineering and played at the Longhorn marching band.
Where Does Rex Tillerson Live?
As a grownup, Tillerson's home base stayed in Texas. His property includes Bar RR Ranches, with "RR" standing for Rex and Renda.
Together with his administration appointment, Tillerson bought a home in the Kalorama neighborhood of Washington, D.C. However he frequently leaves D.C. to return to Texas or see his parents in Colorado.
At Exxon Tillerson managed to scale the ranks until he had been the one giving orders. Accumulating merit badges as a Boy Scout was just another organized endeavor. But in his government role, Tillerson encountered difficulties in coping with a chaotic Trump government and criticism for not being accessible enough to the media.
"It is much different than being C.E.O. of Exxon because I had been the greatest decision-maker," Tillerson admitted to colleagues in the summer of 2017. "That always makes life simpler."