Rex Tillerson

Chairman and CEO of US oil and gas corporation ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson, speaks during the 2015 Oil and Money conference in central London on Oct. 7, 2015. Ben Stansall / AFP/Getty Images


Donald Trump is expected to nominate ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as his secretary of state.

The 64-year-old veteran oil executive has no government or diplomatic experience, although he has ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the pick would place Tillerson fourth in line to the presidency.

He will also be paired with former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton as his deputy secretary of state.

Tillerson, of Wichita Falls, Texas, has already notified his corporate board about taking on the new role, sources told NBC News. He is set to retire from ExxonMobil next year since the company has a mandatory retirement age of 65, Reuters reported.

He has never previously worked in government, but reportedly holds conservative political views.

Tillerson has made tens of thousands of dollars worth of political donations over the past two decades to Republican groups and candidates, including to President George W. Bush and former Texas Gov. Jeb Bush, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Tillerson backed Jeb Bush during the GOP presidential primary and did not donate to Trump’s campaign.

Little is known about where he stands on foreign policy, and as secretary of state, he would have to hit the ground running on major issues. Among them: handling the nuclear agreement with Iran that the Obama administration made in 2015; the sanctions imposed on Russia; disputes with China and North Korea; the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria; and rebuilding Afghanistan and Iraq.