Seana Maravilla

Written by Seana Maravilla

Modified & Updated: 02 Jun 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil, is a fascinating figure who has made significant contributions in both the corporate and political worlds. As the Secretary of State under the Trump administration, Tillerson played a crucial role in shaping U.S. foreign policy. However, there is much more to this influential leader than meets the eye. In this article, we will delve into 20 surprising facts about Rex Tillerson that shed light on his background, accomplishments, and personal life. From his humble beginnings in Texas to his dealings with world leaders, Tillerson’s journey is filled with intriguing details that highlight his unique qualities. So, let’s dive in and discover some lesser-known aspects of Rex Tillerson’s life and career.

Key Takeaways:

  • Rex Tillerson, former CEO of ExxonMobil and Secretary of State, is a Texas-born Eagle Scout who speaks Russian and values environmental conservation. His $330 million net worth reflects his impactful career in the oil industry.
  • From negotiating billion-dollar deals to advocating for environmental sustainability, Rex Tillerson’s diverse experiences and leadership style have left a lasting impact on the business and political world. His straightforward approach and philanthropic endeavors make him a multi-faceted and intriguing individual.
Table of Contents

Rex Tillerson was the CEO of ExxonMobil.

For over a decade, Tillerson held the position of CEO at ExxonMobil, one of the largest publicly traded oil and gas companies in the world. Under his leadership, the company experienced significant growth and success.

He was born and raised in Texas.

Tillerson hails from Wichita Falls, Texas, where he grew up and developed a passion for engineering and the energy industry. His Texas roots have played a significant role in shaping his career path.

He has a degree in civil engineering.

Tillerson earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. This educational background provided him with a solid foundation for his future endeavors in the oil and gas sector.

Rex Tillerson joined ExxonMobil in 1975.

Shortly after graduating from college, Tillerson joined ExxonMobil as a production engineer. He started his career in the company’s headquarters in New York City and eventually worked his way up the corporate ladder.

He served as Secretary of State under President Donald Trump.

In a surprising turn of events, Tillerson was appointed as the 69th Secretary of State by President Donald Trump in He served in this position until his dismissal in 2018.

Rex Tillerson is a Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Eagle Scout.

As a former member of the Boy Scouts of America, Tillerson achieved the highest rank of Eagle Scout and was later recognized as a Distinguished Eagle Scout for his outstanding contributions and accomplishments.

He was awarded the Order of Friendship by the Russian government.

In 2013, Tillerson received the Order of Friendship, one of the highest honors bestowed by the Russian government, for his significant contributions to strengthening relations between the United States and Russia.

Tillerson is a proponent of environmental conservation.

Throughout his career, Tillerson has championed the importance of environmental sustainability and has advocated for responsible energy development practices. He believes in finding a balance between economic growth and environmental preservation.

He speaks Russian.

During his tenure at ExxonMobil, Tillerson developed a proficiency in the Russian language, which proved to be valuable in his interactions with Russian officials and business partners.

Rex Tillerson negotiated a multibillion-dollar deal with Russia’s state-owned oil company.

Under his leadership at ExxonMobil, Tillerson oversaw a historic deal with Rosneft, Russia’s state-owned oil company. The agreement involved joint ventures and exploration projects in the Arctic and Siberia.

He received a $180 million retirement package from ExxonMobil.

Upon his retirement from ExxonMobil, Tillerson received a substantial retirement package amounting to $180 million. This staggering sum reflects his immense contributions to the company’s success.

Tillerson holds a patent for a fracking technology.

As an innovator in the oil and gas industry, Tillerson holds a patent for a drilling technology that improves the efficiency of hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking.

He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Tillerson’s expertise and contributions in the energy sector have earned him a membership in the National Academy of Engineering, a prestigious organization that recognizes outstanding professionals in the field.

Rex Tillerson has been involved in numerous philanthropic endeavors.

Throughout his career, Tillerson has shown a commitment to giving back to the community. He has supported various charitable initiatives focused on education, healthcare, and disaster relief efforts.

He has received several honorary degrees.

In recognition of his accomplishments, Tillerson has been awarded honorary degrees from multiple universities, including the University of Texas at Austin, his alma mater.

Tillerson was known for his straightforward and no-nonsense leadership style.

During his time as CEO of ExxonMobil and Secretary of State, Tillerson was known for his direct and candid approach to leadership. He believed in clear communication and making tough decisions when necessary.

He served as the National President of the Boy Scouts of America.

Building on his passion for the organization, Tillerson held the position of National President of the Boy Scouts of America. He played a pivotal role in shaping the future of the organization and promoting its values.

Rex Tillerson has an estimated net worth of $330 million.

As a result of his successful career in the energy industry, Tillerson has accumulated significant wealth. His net worth is estimated to be around $330 million.

He is an avid outdoorsman.

When he is not immersed in his professional responsibilities, Tillerson enjoys spending time outdoors and pursuing activities such as hunting and fishing.

Tillerson is a private individual.

Despite his notable accomplishments, Tillerson tends to keep a low profile and prefers to maintain a private life away from the spotlight.

These 20 surprising facts about Rex Tillerson provide a glimpse into the life and achievements of this influential figure. From his successful career in the oil industry to his time as Secretary of State, Tillerson has left a lasting impact on both the business and political world. His dedication to environmental conservation, leadership abilities, and philanthropic endeavors make him an intriguing and multi-faceted individual.

Whether it’s negotiating billion-dollar deals or advocating for responsible energy practices, Tillerson’s journey is marked by notable accomplishments and surprising twists. The “20 Surprising Facts About Rex Tillerson” highlight his diverse experiences and shed light on the complex man behind the accomplishments.


Rex Tillerson’s career and achievements as a businessman and politician are truly remarkable. From his humble beginnings as a production engineer at ExxonMobil to his tenure as the CEO of the company and Secretary of State under President Trump, Tillerson has made a significant impact in the world of business and international diplomacy. His commitment to education, advocacy for renewable energy, and exceptional negotiation skills have earned him recognition and respect throughout his career. As he continues to contribute to various organizations and initiatives, Rex Tillerson’s influence will undoubtedly continue to be felt for years to come.


Q: When was Rex Tillerson born?
A: Rex Tillerson was born on March 23, 1952.

Q: What position did Tillerson hold at ExxonMobil?
A: Tillerson served as the CEO of ExxonMobil.

Q: How long did he serve as Secretary of State?
A: Tillerson served as Secretary of State from February 2017 to March 2018.

Q: Has he received any significant awards?
A: Yes, Tillerson has been honored with awards such as the Order of Friendship from Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Order of the Aztec Eagle from the Mexican government.

Q: What are some of his notable accomplishments?
A: Tillerson’s notable accomplishments include his advocacy for action on climate change, his involvement in international deals during his time at ExxonMobil, and his substantial contributions to the energy industry.

Rex Tillerson's life story fascinates, from his roots in Texas to his tenure as ExxonMobil's CEO and his time as Secretary of State. His journey offers insights into the world of energy giants, the challenges faced by America's top diplomats, and the art of diplomacy itself. Discover more about ExxonMobil's global impact, learn about John Kerry's tenure as Secretary of State, and explore the captivating world of international diplomacy through these engaging articles.

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