U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is expected to name the chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) as the country’s top diplomat, a source familiar with the situation said on Saturday, an appointment that would put in place an official with close ties to the Russian government.
News of Tillerson’s possible appointment comes as U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Trump win the White House.
The choice of Tillerson further stocks Trump’s cabinet and inner circle with people who favor a soft line toward Moscow.
Tillerson, 64, has driven Exxon’s expansion in Russia for decades and opposed U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia for its seizure of Crimea.
Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded Tillerson Russia’s Order of Friendship, one of the country’s highest civilian honors.
Exxon’s Tillerson emerged on Friday as Trump’s leading candidate for U.S. secretary of state over 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and three other people.
Tillerson met with Trump for more than two hours at Trump Tower on Saturday morning. It was their second meeting about the position this week.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Tillerson was the expected pick but cautioned no formal offer had yet been made.
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