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The Rex Files

What to Expect From Trump’s Secretary of State

ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson (left) testifies before a committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, January 2016. Joshua Roberts / Reuters

After weeks of suspense, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has finally chosen a secretary of state. On Tuesday morning, he named ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to the position, taking to Twitter shortly after the announcement to tout his pick’s “vast experience at dealing successfully with all types of foreign governments.” 

Tillerson is clearly a dealmaker. Under his leadership, Exxon, which has operations on six continents and a stock market value of more than $390 billion, has inked over a hundred merger and acquisition deals. The next secretary’s negotiating style, much like the next commander-in-chief’s, also suggests a flair for the dramatic. The New York Times recounts one particularly colorful episode in Yemen where Tillerson, on hand to negotiate a natural gas export plant and exhausted by the government’s stonewalling, “flew into a rage, throwing a five-inch-thick book across the room and storming out.” 

Temperament aside, what distinguishes

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