Trump is currently forming his administration in preparation for his inauguration on January 20. On Saturday, reports emerged that Trump decided to appoint Tillerson as the new US secretary of state to succeed John Kerry under the incoming administration. The official announcement is expected to take place next week, according to the reports.
"The selection of Rex Tillerson as the next US Secretary of State will represent a dramatic improvement in America’s approach to the world. The US and Russia still have 99 problems to address at home and around the world. But this marks the start of a new era where they can now work on them together, instead of remaining consistently obstructed by a long history of toxic personal relationships," Page, an oil industry consultant who served as a foreign policy adviser to Trump during the presidential campaign, said.
Tillerson, who is now 64, has been the Exxon Mobil CEO since 2004. In the 1990s, Tillerson worked for ExxonMobil in Russia. The CEO has met with Russian President Vladimir Putin a number of times while heading the company.
US-Russian relations deteriorated under Secretary of State John Kerry. In 2014, the United States introduced a number of economic and individual sanctions against Russia over its alleged meddling in the Ukrainian conflict. The spat grew further in 2016 when the two countries failed to secure a lasting ceasefire in war-torn Syria over differences in approaches on how to achieve a settlement.