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Former Exxon CEO Tillerson to cede control of US$240m in shares

Wednesday, January 4, 2017 - 12:53

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Rex Tillerson, former Exxon Mobil Corp chief executive and President-elect Donald Trump's pick for US secretary of state, will relinquish control of about US$240 million in company shares if confirmed as he severs ties to comply with conflict-of-interest requirements.

[HONG KONG] Rex Tillerson, former Exxon Mobil Corp chief executive and President-elect Donald Trump's pick for US secretary of state, will relinquish control of about US$240 million in company shares if confirmed as he severs ties to comply with conflict-of-interest requirements.

If confirmed, Mr Tillerson will sell the more than 600,000 shares he owns in the largest US oil explorer and transfer the value of more than 2 million in deferred shares to an independently managed trust, Exxon said in a statement dated Jan 3.

The former CEO would have received the shares over the next 10 years. Mr Tillerson will also surrender entitlement to more than US$4.1 million in cash bonuses to be paid out over the next three years, with the total lost compensation reaching about US$7 million, the company said.

To avoid a conflict of interest with the multinational corporation he's led since 2006, Mr Tillerson, whom Mr Trump named in December as his pick to lead the state department, would have needed to work out a resolution for the stock awards. Mr Tillerson also needs sign off from the top US government ethics agency.

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Mr Tillerson's confirmation hearing before US senators may begin as soon as next week. The 64-year-old Texan is no stranger to Capitol Hill, having testified before congressional inquiries in the past decade on topics as diverse as gasoline prices and the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Mr Tillerson stepped down as Exxon chairman and CEO on Jan 1 and was succeeded by refining chief Darren Woods. The company typically retains the services of ex-CEOs post-retirement to benefit from their long-standing relationships with foreign oil ministers, political leaders and dignitaries.

By cutting ties with Exxon, Mr Tillerson is also eschewing post-employment perks such as a private office and administrative support enjoyed by his predecessor and mentor, Lee Raymond. Mr Tillerson spent his entire professional career at the Irving, Texas-based company that traces its roots to the 1880s and John D Rockefeller's Standard Oil Trust.

Mr Tillerson directly owns 611,087 shares of Exxon, worth about US$55.5 million according to Bloomberg calculations based on Tuesday's close in New York. He has an additional 2.026 million restricted shares, worth US$184 million.

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