Rex Wayne Tillerson (born March 23, 1952) is an American energy executive who served as the 69th United States Secretary of State from February 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, under President Donald Trump. Prior to joining the Trump administration, Tillerson was chairman and chief executive officer of ExxonMobil, holding that position from 2006 until 2017.
Tillerson began his career as a civil engineer with Exxon in 1975 after graduating with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. By 1989 he had become general manager of the Exxon USA central production division. In 1995 he became president of Exxon Yemen Inc. and Esso Exploration and Production Khorat Inc. In 2006 Tillerson was elected chair and chief executive of Exxon, the world's sixth largest company by revenue. Tillerson retired from Exxon effective January 1, 2017. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
Tillerson is a long-time volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America and earned the rank of Eagle Scout. From 2010 to 2012 he was the national president of the Boy Scouts, its highest non-executive position. He is a long-time contributor to Republican campaigns, but did not donate to Donald Trump's presidential campaign. In 2014, Tillerson, who had made business deals on behalf of Exxon with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, opposed the sanctions against Russia. He has previously been the director of the joint United States-Russia oil company Exxon Neftegas.
Tillerson became Secretary of State on February 1, 2017. An unconventional choice for the role, Tillerson's tenure was characterized by a lack of visibility in comparison to his predecessors in the traditionally high-profile position of Secretary of State. During Tillerson's tenure, new applications to work for the Foreign Service fell by 50% and 60% of high-ranking career diplomats in the State Department resigned. After their relationship quickly deteriorated, Trump dismissed Tillerson in March 2018, making his tenure one of the shortest in recent history. Tillerson was replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo.