Former Exxon CEO, Boy Scouts of America Leader Rex Tillerson out as Secretary of State

Rex Tillerson and his DFW ties are out at the State Department. According to the White House, President Donald Trump decided Friday, in the midst of Tillerson's diplomatic trip to Africa, to replace the secretary of state, but a statement from the State Department on Tuesday said that the secretary had yet to speak to the president about his dismissal. According to reporting from NBC's Andrea Mitchell, Tillerson found out he was fired Tuesday after Trump tweeted about it.

“The secretary had every intention of staying because of the critical progress made in national security and other areas,” said Steve Goldstein, undersecretary of public diplomacy for the State Department. “He will miss his colleagues greatly at the Department of State, and the foreign ministers he’s worked with throughout the world. The secretary did not speak to the president and is unaware of the reason. He is grateful for the opportunity to serve and believes strongly that public service is a noble calling.”

Trump named CIA Director Mike Pompeo as his preferred successor to Tillerson in a statement Tuesday before praising Tillerson for his service.

"I want to thank Rex Tillerson for his service. A great deal has been accomplished over the last 14 months, and I wish him and his family well," Trump said.

Before joining the Trump administration, Tillerson served as the CEO of Irving-based Exxon Mobil Corp. from 2006-17. During his time at the oil giant, Tillerson, an Eagle Scout, also served as national president of the Boy Scouts of America, from 2010-12. Under his leadership, the Scouts moved toward liberalizing their admissions policy before finally deciding to admit gay Scouts in 2013.

Before taking Trump's cabinet offer, Tillerson, a Wichita Falls native, spent most of his life in Texas, graduating from the University of Texas in 1975 before joining Exxon Mobil that year. At the State Department, Tillerson presided over a bureaucracy that quickly became understaffed, thanks to Trump's push for budget cuts.

The timing of Tillerson's firing could prove to be a sticking point if it turns out he was fired Tuesday, rather than last week. On Monday, Tillerson pointed to Russia as the likely culprit behind the poisonings of an ex-Russian spy and his daughter in London, calling it "an egregious act." Russia, he said in a statement issued by the State Department on Monday night, is "an irresponsible force of instability in the world, acting with open disregard for the sovereignty of other states and the life of their citizens."
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young

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