Corporate Connections: ExxonMobil, American Petroleum Institute
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil corporation, for 10 years. But oil has run through his veins for much longer; he has worked for the company since 1975, when it was just Exxon. Exxon was aware of climate change since at least 1977, but, instead of taking action to prevent catastrophic global warming, spent millions on climate denial campaigns to confuse the public. Tillerson holds $218 million in the company’s stock and has a pension plan worth $69.5 million. Tillerson has close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In the 1990s, Tillerson directed Exxon’s Russian subsidiary, Exxon Neftegas, which was incorporated in the Bahamas, an offshore tax haven.
One analyst (who works for a foreign policy think tank on which Tillerson sits on the board of directors) said, “He has had more interactive time with Vladimir Putin than probably any other American with the exception of Henry Kissinger.”
Tillerson is a leader and a former chairman of American Petroleum Institute, the fossil fuel industry trade group, which lobbies on behalf of the industry. Tillerson also is a member of the Business Roundtable, an executive-led corporate lobbying group.
Since 1990, Tillerson has contributed $428,520 to support Republican political candidates.