The news that President-elect Donald Trump is expected to nominate Rex Tillerson, the chairman and chief executive of ExxonMobil, as his Secretary of State is astonishing on many levels. As an exercise of public diplomacy, it will certainly confirm the assumption of many people around the world that American power is best understood as a raw, neocolonial exercise in securing resources.
Tillerson figures prominently in “Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power,” a book I wrote about the corporation that came out in 2012. He declined my requests to interview him for that project, but I turned up at several public appearances he made and asked him a few questions from the reporters’ gallery. I also studied his public remarks, reviewed accounts of his activities reported in State Department cables obtained by Freedom of Information Act requests or released by WikiLeaks, and conducted interviews with other ExxonMobil executives, retirees, friends, competitors, civil-society activists and business partners from Asia to Africa to the Middle East.
- Rex Tillerson: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
- Behind the deep ties between Exxon’s Rex Tillerson and Russia
- Russia Applauds Trump Dream Team as Exxon CEO Eyed for State
- Exxon CEO Expected to Head State, While ‘Enemies List’ Worries Energy Dept.
- Inside Exxon’s Great Climate Cover-Up: From Early Climate Change Researcher to Epic Climate Denier