Trump picks ExxonMobil CEO Tillerson as choice for secretary of - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Trump picks ExxonMobil CEO Tillerson as choice for secretary of state

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(CNN) -

(CNN) President-elect Donald Trump has chosen ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to serve as secretary of state, the transition team announced Tuesday, setting up a heated Senate confirmation battle and signaling a desire to ease Washington's estrangement with Russia.

Like Trump, Tillerson, 64, has no formal foreign policy experience, but has built close relationships with many world leaders by closing massive deals across Eurasia and the Middle East on behalf of the world's largest energy company.

"His tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics make him an excellent choice for Secretary of State," Trump said in the statement.

Tillerson was originally a dark horse for the secretary of state nomination, but emerged from a lengthy public interview and vetting process that included better-known quantities like former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney and Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee.

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