WASHINGTON, , (Pakistan Point News - APP - 13th Dec, 2016 ) - US President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday tapped ExxonMobil chief Rex Tillerson as his nominee to be secretary of state, despite concerns on both sides of the political aisle about the oilman's deep ties to Russia. The nomination was the one most awaited by observers at home and abroad as the 70-year-old Republican billionaire builds his cabinet before taking office on January 20 -- and reveals how his administration might alter foreign policy.
The president-elect has stoked alarm -- even among fellow Republicans -- by calling for closer ties with Moscow, in contrast to the belief in Washington that Russia remains a global security threat. The nomination comes just days after the CIA accused Russia of interfering to help Trump win the US election -- a development which could complicate Tillerson's confirmation hearings before the Senate. Trump promised that the executive, whose nomination was immediately welcomed by Vladimir Putin's Kremlin, has relationships with world leaders that are "second to none.
" Tillerson "will be a forceful and clear-eyed advocate for America's vital national interests, and help reverse years of misguided foreign policies and actions that have weakened America's security and standing in the world," Trump said. As ExxonMobil CEO, Tillerson -- who has spent his entire professional life at the company, joining in 1975 -- was a vocal opponent of sanctions on Moscow that thwarted his attempt to strike huge oil deals in the Russian Arctic.
In 2013, Tillerson was awarded Russia's Order of Friendship by President Vladimir Putin. A senior Kremlin aide said Putin and other Russians have "good, business-like relations" with Tillerson and praised him as a "very solid figure." As ExxonMobil's president and chief executive, the 64-year-old Texan oversees the company's business activities in more than 50 countries. Appointed CEO in 2006, he was due to retire in March. "Rex knows how to manage a global enterprise, which is crucial to running a successful State Department, and his relationships with leaders all over the world are second to none," Trump said.