Can Rex Tillerson leave Exxon behind?

WASHINGTON — Out of a thicket of politicians, TV cameras and reporters strode Rex Tillerson — with security guards at his side and a photographer running to keep up — into the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Tillerson, however, had to wait, milling in the reception area in full view of whatever member of the public happened to pass by the senator’s office. Dressed in a well-tailored dark suit, Tillerson killed time chatting with staffers before walking to a window that looked out at the National Mall, its monuments and the White House off in the distance.

It was a long way from the chief executive’s office at Exxon Mobil headquarters outside Dallas, where no one kept Tillerson waiting and the closest thing to reporters wandering the hallways were coyotes roaming among the trees and scrub outside. As he readies for hearings this week on his nomination as secretary of state, Tillerson will need to convince senators that he can adjust his mindset from that of the profit-seeking CEO of one of the world’s largest oil companies and truly separate himself from the corporation where he worked for more than 40 years.

“Anyone that works for his entire career for one company or one organization tends to adopt its worldview,” said Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which will hold the confirmation hearings. “It’s not something that can be resolved overnight.”


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