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Tillerson Rise Aided by Savvy Negotiating in Putin’s Russia

  • Secretary of state candidate revived dormant Russia oil deal
  • Exxon lifer’s ascent included successes in Yemen and Thailand
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What's the History of Rex Tillerson's Russia Connections?

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For Rex Tillerson, Russia was the proving ground that helped vault him to leadership of a company whose annual sales dwarf the economic output of most nations.

Tillerson, Exxon Mobil Corp.’s chairman and chief executive officer since 2006, has emerged as President-elect Donald Trump’s favorite for secretary of state despite, or perhaps because of, a long record of engagement with America’s former Cold War adversary. In the late 1990s, when serving as a vice president for Exxon’s Russian unit, Tillerson helped revive a $17 billion oil development in a remote region east of Moscow that’d been stalled by bureaucratic inaction for most of a decade.