Politics & Government

Rex Tillerson to divest from Russia’s largest search engine, resign board positions

Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson meets Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington with Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., who’s a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which will conduct Tillerson's confirmation hearing.
Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson meets Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington with Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., who’s a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which will conduct Tillerson's confirmation hearing. AP

Rex Tillerson has been under scrutiny for his close relationship with Russia, and now the former Exxon Mobil CEO is divesting from Yandex, Russia’s largest search engine, as part of his transition to public life.

Tillerson, whose confirmation hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, submitted his personal financial disclosure forms to the Office of Government Ethics on Jan. 3. The documents provide insight into the complicated finances of Tillerson, who worked for one of the world’s largest publicly traded corporations for over 40 years.

The disclosure forms show that Tillerson held between $1 and $15,000 in Yandex stock, a Russian-owned technology company that also runs the country’s biggest search engine. Yandex is a publicly traded company with many American shareholders.

The born and raised Texan also co-owns a ranch with his wife specializing in “cutting horses,” or horses that are trained in separating cattle from the herd. Bar RR Ranches LLC is worth between $5 million and $25 million, according to Tillerson’s financial disclosure forms. He will resign from managing the ranch if confirmed.

Cabinet nominees must submit financial disclosure statements to show that their work in the White House will not be affected by their personal financial interests. The statements outline personal investments and income.

At least nine of President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees will face public scrutiny on Capitol Hill this week, and some of them do not have publicly available personal financial disclosure forms outlining investments and income.

Tillerson, who will receive a $180 million retirement package from Exxon, has Exxon stocks and benefits worth in excess of $50 million. If he returns to the oil and gas industry within 10 years, the $180 million will go to charity.

Tillerson plans to resign from board positions at the Ford’s Theatre Society, the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Boy Scouts of America. He has already resigned from positions with the Business Roundtable and American Petroleum Institute.

“I am committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct for government officials,” Tillerson said in his letter to the Office of Government Ethics. “If confirmed as secretary of state . . . I will not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter in which I know that I have a financial interest directly and predictably affected by the matter.”

Tillerson, who also owns $109,000 to $361,000 worth of stock in various Chinese companies, has over 300 sources of income in the form of stocks, bonds and dividends.

He promised to divest from 156 companies ranging from Apple to Yandex within 90 days of taking office.

Tillerson ran Exxon’s Russia operations during the 1990s, where he met now-President Vladimir Putin. In 2013, Tillerson received the Order of Friendship from Putin, one of Russia’s highest honors for foreigners.

Alex Daugherty: 202-383-6049, @alextdaugherty

  Comments