Jan. 6, 2017
Does Tillerson’s Deal With Exxon Eliminate His Interest in the Company?
Statement of David Arkush, Managing Director, Public Citizen’s Climate Program
Note: On Wednesday, it was announced that Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. secretary of state, is severing his ties with Exxon Mobil. The former chairman and CEO is in line to receive a $180 million retirement package.
The documents Exxon filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on its deal with Rex Tillerson are contradictory. One says Tillerson will forfeit his remaining payout if he goes back to work in the oil and gas industry in the next 10 years. But another says Tillerson forfeits the payout if he engages in “competitive” employment in the industry – in other words, if he works for an oil and gas company other than Exxon.
Which is it?
An agreement that penalizes Tillerson for working for any oil and gas company except Exxon can hardly be said to eliminate his interest in Exxon. As secretary of state, Tillerson would have an incentive to advance the interests of the only company in the field where he could work if he wants to keep receiving trust payments over the next several years.
Senators should ask some tough questions about this deal at Tillerson’s confirmation hearing.