Will Tillerson Be Able to Manage Trump?

ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson and Russian president Vladimir Putin

Russian president Vladimir Putin and ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson

Excerpts from “How Exxon’s Love Affair with Rosneft Helped Tillerson Win Putin’s Heart”

Source: Bloomberg News, December 22, 2016

… For Exxon, [Rex] Tillerson not only built a cash cow that will pay off for decades, he created an engineering marvel that redefined what’s possible in hostile climes, breaking multiple world drilling records, including a well eight miles long. Impressed by his ability to master one of the most treacherous — and potentially lucrative — business environments in the world, Exxon rewarded Tillerson with the dual titles of chairman and CEO in 2006 …

…When Exxon and Rosneft’s legal status at Sakhalin-1 was finalized in 1996, the Russian company’s output was just 240,000 barrels a day, a fraction of its Soviet-era peak. Within a decade, the island project alone was pumping a quarter million barrels a day, helping Rosneft fund a wave of takeovers that would boost its production 20-fold to surpass China and even Exxon itself …

… “The big question is whether a guy who’s worked in such a strong, closely knit corporate culture for 40 years can pivot and be effective as a global diplomat,” [Edward] Chow [at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington] said. “Nobody knows the answer to that, but if you can deal with Putin and [Rosneft chair Igor] Sechin, then you can manage Trump, if anyone can manage Trump.”


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