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UPDATED: Trump taps Tillerson, Perry for cabinet

Written by  Tuesday, 13 December 2016 09:35

US President-elect Donald Trump has picked ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be his nominee for Secretary of State and former Texas Governor Rick Perry to be his Secretary of Energy, it was announced today (13 December).

Trump praised Tillerson via Twitter, calling him “one of the truly great business leaders of the world.”

Trump continued, via twitter: “The thing I like best about Rex Tillerson is that he has vast experience at dealing successfully with all types of foreign governments.”

A Texas native, Tillerson has been a life-long Exxon employee, joining the company in 1975. Tillerson earned a BS in civil engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. He has served in several management capacities during his career at Exxon, including: President of Exxon Yemen in 1995; vice president of Exxon Ventures and president of Exxon Neftegas in 1998; executive vice president of ExxonMobil Development Co. in 1999; senior vice president of Exxon Mobil Corp. in 2011; and eventually, he was named CEO in 2006.

Perry, also a Texas native, became governor of Texas following the election of then-US President George W. Bush in 2000 and served in that role until 2015. Perry has been in government service since the 1980s. He was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1985, serving until 1991, when he became the Agricultural Commissioner of Texas. He served in that role until 1999 when he became then-governor Bush's lieutenant governor.

The American Petroleum Institute praised the choice, calling Tillerson “world class.”

“He has decades of experience working with global leaders and overseeing the creation of thousands of jobs,” said API President and CEO Jack Gerard. “He understands that American voters want to strengthen our national security, grow jobs, and protect American interests globally.

As our nation’s next top diplomat, Rex has the strategic experience to effectively represent the new administration and the American people. He runs one of the largest companies in the world that operates in more than 50 countries, oversees over 75,000 employees, and he has first-hand experience working on international issues. His relationships and in particular those with other nations will help further advance US interests across the globe.

“We congratulate Rex on being nominated and look forward to working with him, the incoming administration, and the new Congress on common sense policies that protect the environment, create jobs, and strengthen our economy,” Gerard concluded. 

While Perry famously said he would do away with the Department of Energy (DOE) in a televised debate in 2011, it is currently unclear whether he will close up shop should he be confirmed by congress.

Joseph Hall, a partner at the international law firm Dorsey & Whitney in Washington DC, says Perry should be well received by the energy sector.

"He’ll need to express his goals for the National Nuclear Security Administration (a semi-autonomous agency within the DOE), but Texas is a market leader on the policy, law and economics of the oil, gas and electric power industries," Hall says. "He understands carbon policy, the oil and gas business and generation and transmission development. In fact, Texas has invested significantly in renewable power and transmission infrastructure. If confirmed, in the short term, I would look for additional thought leadership from DOE on carbon capture and sequestration development and technologies as a mechanism to facilitate the use of domestic fossil fuels."

In a statement released on 14 December, API President and CEO Jack Gerard welcomed the nomination of former Texas Governor Rick Perry to serve as the Secretary of Energy and called on the nominee to make LNG exports a top priority at the Department of Energy.

“The United States is leading the world in the production and refining of oil and natural gas and in the reduction of carbon emissions, which are near 20-year lows,” said Gerard. “In order to continue our nation’s leadership on these important issues, we need to pursue policies that put certainty back into the regulatory process.

“As the former governor of Texas, Rick Perry knows the important impact that energy production has on our nation’s economy. In his new role at the Energy Department, he has the opportunity to encourage increased exports of domestically produced natural gas. We look forward to working with Governor Perry in his new role, the new administration and the new Congress on smart energy policies that benefit American consumers, American workers and the environment,” Gerard said.

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