Donald Trump to Meet With ExxonMobil CEO as Secretary of State Search Expands

PHOTO: Rex Tillerson and Donald Trump are seen here.PlayGetty Images
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Amid his broadening search for a secretary of state, President-elect Donald Trump is slated to meet today with ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, according to a senior Trump transition officials.

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The Texas oil executive is under consideration for the U.S.'s top diplomat, the official said.

The emergence of new names indicates that Trump may be conflicted about his shortlist and may be facing persistent division in his inner circle of advisers over the key choice. The Trump transition team says Trump is considering as many as nine candidates for secretary of state, with the selection process appearing to be far from over.

Tillerson, who has worked at Exxon for more than 40 years, has been the CEO since 2006. He has no formal diplomatic experience. The company issued a statement on Nov. 4 supporting the Paris climate agreement.

In 2013 he was awarded the Order of Friendship by Russian President Vladimir Putin — an indication of Tillerson's closeness to the Kremlin. Tillerson was at one time responsible for Exxon's holdings in Russia and the Caspian Sea as well as operations off Sakhalin Island in the nation's far east, according to his bio on the ExxonMobil website.

Trump has been criticized for his perceived closeness to Russia, and questions about his posture toward the country repeatedly arose during the 2016 presidential campaign.