ExxonMobil president and CEO Rex Tillerson is the leading contender to be America's next secretary of state, according to two Trump transition aides.
Tillerson, an oil executive with extensive experience in international negotiations, has risen the top of Trump's short list for Foggy Bottom in recent days. Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani withdrew from the process late Friday afternoon, saying he planned to return to the private sector.
Tillerson was brought into Trump Tower for an interview with Trump at the recommendation of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who count Exxon among their private consulting clients, according to two sources familiar with the conversations. His name was first publicly floated for the job in early December and he met privately with Trump on Tuesday. Rice sat down with the President-elect in late November, and Gates followed her three days later.
While Gates praised Trump's choice of retired Marine General James Mattis to lead the Department of Defense, he has cautioned against the selection of another general to lead the State Department. He said after his meeting with Trump that he thought "it would be awkward to have military officers both [as] secretary of state and secretary of defense." Full post here