Newly appointed Exxon CEO Darren Woods. Image courtesy of ExxonMobil.

ExxonMobil has named Darren Woods as its new chairman and chief executive officer.

Exxon confirmed that Darren W. Woods, currently president of Exxon Mobil Corporation, has been elected chairman and chief executive officer by the board of directors.

His appointment is effective as of January 1, 2017.

Woods, 51, has been member of the company’s board of directors since January 2016.

Woods joined Exxon Company International in 1992 and has he held various senior domestic and international positions in ExxonMobil Refining & Supply Company, ExxonMobil Chemical Company and Exxon Company International.

He also served as manager of ExxonMobil investor relations.

Woods will take the helm from current CEO Rex Tillerson, who will retire at the end of the year after more than 41 years of service at Exxon.

Tillerson was recently nominated by President-elect Donald Trump to lead the U.S. State Department.

In a statement, Exxon’s board of directors congratulated Tillerson on his nomination.

Tillerson and the board have agreed that Tillerson’s retirement date will be moved up, “given the significant requirements associated with the confirmation process.”

Tillerson was scheduled to retire in March 2017 when he reached 65, the company’s mandatory retirement age for his current position.

Tillerson joined Exxon Company USA in 1975 as a production engineer after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin.

He held various senior roles in the corporation throughout his career spanning more than four decades, including executive vice president of ExxonMobil Development Company.

The American Petroleum Institute applauded Tillerson’s nomination on Tuesday, calling him a “world class” choice.

“As our nation’s next top diplomat, Rex has the strategic experience to effectively represent the new administration and the American people,” API President and CEO Jack Gerard said in a statement.

Some members of Congress have expressed concerns about Tillerson’s business ties to Russia’s Rosneft.

Tillerson was awarded the Order of Friendship by Russian president Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2013, about two years after Exxon signed a strategic cooperation deal with Rosneft.

Senator John McCain told CBS News earlier this week that Tillerson’s “close personal relationship” with Putin is a matter of “concern.”

Tillerson has also expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of sanctions against Russia.

During Exxon’s 2014 shareholders meeting, Tillerson said Exxon “does not support sanctions” and believes that sanctions are usually “not effective.”

According to a transcript seen by NBC News, Tillerson added during the meeting that sanctions are effective only when they are “implemented comprehensively” and added that implementing sanctions is a “very hard thing to do.”


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