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Trump names ExxonMobil's CEO as his pick for secretary of state

He still has to get approved by the Senate, which probably won't be a smooth process.

President-elect Donald Trump has named Rex Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil, as the nation's top diplomat, Trump and his transition team announced Tuesday morning.

Tillerson, 64, is a native of Texas who began his career at Exxon in 1975, working his way up to eventually lead the company. That is among the reasons Trump picked him for secretary of state – despite the fact he has no formal foreign policy experience.

Trump says his success in global business, as well as his relationship with Russia (he has maintained close ties with the country through his work with ExxonMobil and was awarded the Order of Friendship by Vladimir Putin) and other nations is a selling point, Fox News reports.

"His tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics make him an excellent choice for secretary of state," Trump said in the statement.

"We must focus on strengthening our alliances, pursuing shared national interests and enhancing the strength, security and sovereignty of the United States," Tillerson said in a statement.

Tillerson emerged as Trump's pick for secretary of state following a vetting process that included former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Sen. Bob Corker, and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, CNN says.

Tillerson has the support of some, but his close ties with Russia will likely set him up for a contentious confirmation fight in the Senate. Both Republicans and Democrats have expressed their concern about his friendly relationship with Putin, the New York Times says, and are also wary about his past opposition of sanctions on Russia, the Wall Street Journal reports.

If Tillerson is confirmed by the Senate (he needs a majority of votes), he'll be the face of the United States abroad, with Trump's transition team saying he'll "help reverse years of misguided foreign policies and actions that have weakened America's security and standing in the world," and help enhance "the prospects for peace and prosperity among nations."

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