President-elect Donald Trump tapped Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM) Chief Executive Rex Tillerson as his choice for Secretary of State. But Mr. Tillerson may face bipartisan resistance from Congress over his ties to the Middle East and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
However, others see Tillerson’s global relations as a positive. Robert Jordan, former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said Tillerson’s worldwide experience as CEO of Exxon is the type of leadership needed to run the State Department.
“I think it’s important to remember that Exxon is a massive company. They have about as many employees as the State Department, but their annual revenue is about four times what the budget is of the State Department. Rex knows how to run a complex organization and I think the State Department is in great need of a management overhaul,” Ambassador Jordan said during an interview on FOX Business Network Countdown to the Closing Bell.
Tillerson has received support from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. But, how do Tillerson’s close ties with gulf oil producers and Exxon Mobil’s operations in Saudi Arabia square up with Trump’s support for Israel?
“The gulf oil producing states are increasingly closer with Israel because of their common enemy in Iran. So, I think that issue is almost a nonissue at this stage,” Jordan told host Liz Claman.
The Ambassador said Tillerson can handle the continued conflict in the Middle East and clearly understands American foreign policy priorities.
“I think Rex Tillerson is completely capable of dealing with Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia, you name it. And I think he will understand and has clearly understood through his career the importance of our relationship with Israel,” he said.