Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson has been sworn in as the Secretary of State.
Vice-president Mike Pence swore Tillerson in on Wednesday night at the White House.
President Donald Trump attended the ceremony and congratulated Tillerson on his appointment.
“Your whole life has prepared you for this moment, and you really have had a tremendous life — heading up one of the great companies of the world and doing it magnificently, absolutely magnificently. And I can say this is a man that’s respected all over the world, before he even begins,” Trump said.
According to the Washington Post, Tillerson was confirmed by the Senate after a 56 to 43 vote.
Tillerson, 64, resigned from his Exxon post late last year after over 40 years at the company.
According to Bloomberg, Tillerson gave up deferred stock rights in exchange for a $180 million cash payout made to an independently managed trust as part of his ethics agreement.
Tillerson must also recuse himself from State Department decisions that are “directly or substantially” tied to Exxon for two years as part of the ethics agreement, Bloomberg added.
In an address to State Department staffers on Thursday, Tillerson praised the department’s employees and said he will embrace “accountability, honesty and respect.”
“Though we often live in a world of headlines, working outside of the public eye does not make you any less essential to our operations,” Tillerson said.
Tillerson also said he will work to identify ways to boost the department’s efficiency and productivity.
“Change for the sake of change can be counterproductive and that will never be my approach. But we can not sustain ineffective traditions over optimal outcomes,” Tillerson said.
Tillerson added that, after his first meeting with Trump, his wife told him that “you didn’t know it but you’ve been in a 41 year training program for this job.”
When Tillerson was first nominated for his new post, Trump cited his business experience a key factor behind his nomination.
In a Twitter message posted in December, Trump said “the thing I like best about Rex Tillerson is that he has vast experience at dealing successfully with all types of foreign governments.”