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Rex Tillerson, Candidate for US State Secretary, Financed Armenian School in the USA


The appointment of Rex Tillerson as the US State Secretary by the US President Donald Trump triggered a lot of debate in the US and international media. As it is known, on Monday, the US Senate advanced the nomination of former Exxon Mobil Corp Chief Executive Rex Tillerson to be the US Secretary of State.  As voting continued, the procedural vote was 56 to 43 to move toward a final confirmation vote, to be held most likely late Tuesday or early on Wednesday, Townhall reports.

The main themes discussed in the media about Tillerson are the absence of his political experience, his business interests, his views on climate change and on other issues, his foreign, business connections with other country leaders. His connections with Russian President Vladimir Putin were emphasized the most. As Guardian reports, in 2013, Putin awarded Tillerson the Russian Order of Friendship. According to the same source, Tillerson is close to Igor Sechin, the head of Russian state oil company Rosneft, who is said to be de facto second most powerful figure inside the Kremlin. The award came after a 2011 deal between ExxonMobil and Rosneft to explore the Kara Sea, in Russia’s Arctic.

Tillerson was the chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of ExxonMobil from 2006 to 2016. ExxonMobil is an American multinational oil and gas corporation, which is the world 8 largest company by revenue. Receiving a civil engineering degree from the University of Texas, he joined ExxonMobil in 1975. He started from a production engineer and becoming chairman and chief executive in 2006. 

However, to get a complete image of what kind of personality Rex Tillerson is, we will not be limited with the information mentioned above. For example, it will be useful to learn what Tillerson’s interests are aside from the ones in business and politics.  

In this sense it is interesting to learn that Tillerson is a lifelong Boy Scout and even today he mentions his rank of Eagle Scout on his résumé. As a junior scout, he got many Scouting’s highest awards, for leadership abilities and dedication. It is not by chance that his old friend, Ray Hunt, the chairman of Hunt Consolidated, once noted: “To understand Rex Tillerson, you need to understand Scouting,” The Guardian reports.

In his book, entitled "Private Empire: Exxon Mobil and American Power," Steve Coll writes that Tillerson has created a merit badge-like system at Exxon, which gives an opportunity to employees earn coins for skills like teamwork and leadership: qualities highly prioritized in scouting activates. In business, he is known for his straightforwardness, which makes some of his companions to argue, that despite his success and wealth, he remains a Boy Scout to his core.

Another personal features common to Tillerson is that he usually does not like to be at the center of attention. Once Tillerson’s old Scout troop in Huntsville, where he graduated from high school, decided to organize a ceremony to honor his and his father’s (his father was also actively engaged in scouting) contributions to the organization. In a response to the invitation, Tillerson sent a kind note stating that it was a little too much, that he didn’t want to be the center of attention,” Dallas News reports.

It is interesting that there are also links among Tillerson, ExxonMobil Corporation and Armenians and Armenian communities abroad.  In this context it is interesting to note, that in 2015, ExxonMobil Corporation presented a grant to Hovnanian School in the USA to implement a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) science project. The aim of the project is to boost students’ imagination to strive for innovative and positive advancement and change in those fields, the Armenian Weekly reports.

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