Exxon Mobil Corp. Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson is emerging as Donald Trump’s choice as secretary of state, a move that would hand top diplomatic powers to a man whose ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin go back almost two decades.

A source close to Trump said the president-elect had not formally offered Tillerson the job yet but is likely to do so. An announcement is expected in the next few days, according to the person, who asked not to be identified discussing internal deliberations. NBC earlier reported that Tillerson was Trump’s pick.

The development — the latest in weeks of speculation about Trump’s secretary of state choice — quickly triggered pushback from some lawmakers. NBC said its sources, people close to the transition team, cautioned that nothing is final until the president-elect makes an announcement. Trump has said he’ll disclose his decision next week.

In an interview to air on “Fox News Sunday,” Trump praised Tillerson without confirming that the 64-year-old oil executive was his final choice.

“He’s a world-class player,” Trump told correspondent Chris Wallace, according to a preview posted on Fox News’ Facebook page on Saturday. Exxon Mobil Corp. is “unbelievably managed,” Trump said.

Tillerson, who hits Exxon’s mandatory retirement age of 65 in March, would be the first oil executive and only the second Texan to lead the State Department. (Bloomberg).

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