Rex Tillerson

“I’m not here to represent the United States government’s interest. I’m not here to defend it nor am I here to criticize it. That’s not what I do—I’m a businessman."
Former Chairman and CEO; Nominee for U.S. Secretary of State

Professional History:

  • CEO & Chairman, ExxonMobil, 2006-2016
  • President of Exxon Mobil Corporation, 2001-2006
  • Executive Vice President of ExxonMobil Development Company, 1999-2001
  • Vice president of Exxon Ventures (CIS) and Esso Exploration and Production Khorat, 1998-1999
  • President of Exxon Neftegas Ltd (Russia and the Caspian Sea), 1998-1999
  • President of Exxon Yemen Inc.1995-1998
  • Trustee for Center for Strategic and International Studies, current
  • Member of American Petroleum Institute, current
  • Member of National Petroleum Council, current
  • Member of Business Roundtable, and its Energy Task Force, current
  • Member of Emergency Committee for American Trade

Born March 23, 1952, in Wichita Falls, Texas, Rex Tillerson graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in civil engineering. He joined The Exxon Company, U.S.A., in 1975 as an engineer.

Under Rex Tillerson, ExxonMobil has remained one of the most profitable companies in the world.

Executive compensation:

Tillerson's total annual reported compensation for the last decade was over $281,787,297, including salary, bonuses, stock options and other compensation. His high compensation has been controversial for shareholders in previous years.

  • 2016: Not yet disclosed.
  • 2015: $27,297,458 (of which $18.2 million was in stock options)
  • 2014: $33,096,312 ($21.4 million in stock)
  • 2013: $28,138,329 ($21.2 million in stock)
  • 2012: $40,266,501 ($19.6 million in stock)
  • 2011: $34,920,506 ($17.8 million in stock)
  • 2010: $28,952,558 ($15.4 million in stock)
  • 2009: $27,168,317 ($16.9 million in stock)
  • 2008: $32,211,079 ($17.6 million in stock)
  • 2007: $16,726,742 ($5.6 million in stock)*
  • 2006: $13,009,495 ($4.1 million in stock)

Forbes staff reporter Jennifer Wang indicates Tillerson holds 2.6 million shares of ExxonMobil stock, worth "roughly $240 million" in addition to his compensation package.

Source documents: ExxonMobil SEC Schedule 14 (4-16-2016); (4-11-2014); (4-12-2012); (4-13-2010); (4-10-2008); 

*Large discrepancies exist for Tillerson's compensation in 2007. The 2010 filing reports $27.1 million in total compensation. The 2008 and 2009 filings report $16.7 million.

u.s. secretary of state nomination

President-elect Donald Trump nominated Rex Tillerson to lead the U.S. State Department in December, 2016. Tillerson's close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin has raised bipartisan opposition by members of Congress. Conflicts of interest regarding Tillerson's role in U.S. diplomacy in the face of ExxonMobil's business ventures with Russian oil and gas companies and U.S. sanctions against Russia present a unique challenge for Tillerson's confirmation.


''We recognize that greenhouse gas emissions are one of the factors affecting climate change.''

ExxonMobil Still the Bull in the Climate Shop, DeSmogBlog, May 29, 2008

“It doesn't do the consumer a lot of good to substitute an alternative fuel that costs $5 for gasoline that costs $4.”

“The dominant energy source in the future will continue to be oil and natural gas.”

- Interview with Rex Tillerson, CEO ExxonMobil, ABC News, Aug. 13, 2008

"If you want to live by the precautionary principle, then crawl up in a ball and live in a cave."

- Exxon’s big bet on shale gas, Fortune, April 16, 2012 

“And as human beings as a -- as a -- as a species, that's why we're all still here. We have spent our entire existence adapting, OK? So we will adapt to this. Changes to weather patterns that move crop production areas around -- we'll adapt to that. It's an engineering problem, and it has engineering solutions. And so I don't -- the fear factor that people want to throw out there to say we just have to stop this, I do not accept."

"And the consequences of a misstep by any member of our industry -- and I'm speaking again about the shale revolution -- the consequences of a misstep in a well, while large to the immediate people that live around that well, in the great scheme of things are pretty small, and even to the immediate people around the well, they could be mitigated."

CEO Speaker Series: A Conversation with Rex W. Tillerson, Council of Foreign Relations, June 27, 2012

“I’m not here to represent the United States government’s interest. I’m not here to defend it nor am I here to criticize it. That’s not what I do—I’m a businessman."

- Global Deals That Made Exxon’s CEO Now Pose Big Test, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 13, 2016


Continuing Exxon's Support for Climate Change Denial Organizations

From 2006-2015, during Tillerson's time as CEO of ExxonMobil, the company and its assoicated foundation spent $14,276,312 on organizations that deny the science of climate change and/or fight policy or regulatory solutions in line with what climate scientists urge is necessary to cut global emissions. (Data on file with Greenpeace U.S., can be reviewed at

Though Mr. Tillerson has publicly affirmed the reality of global warming and the necessity to enact regulations on greenhouse gasses, even advocating for a carbon tax, there is no evidence that ExxonMobil lobbyists have been paid to advance such policies, nor evidence of the company investing to support any such policy.