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CEO Tillerson to step down at year-end as Exxon speeds up succession plan

Exxon Mobil Corp. has a replacement set for CEO Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump's secretary of state designate, naming company President Darren Woods to take the reins Jan. 1, 2017.

Tillerson, who had been scheduled to retire in March 2017 when he turns 65, expedited his departure after being chosen by Trump earlier in the week. In a statement, Exxon's board of directors praised Tillerson for his 41 years with the company, including 10 as CEO.

"We thank Rex for his leadership, service and dedication to ExxonMobil," the board said. "He led the company with integrity and honor, ensuring that safety and environmental protection were at the forefront of everything we do, generating value for shareholders and highlighting the impressive accomplishments of the company's diverse workforce throughout the world. We know that his service to the nation as secretary of state will be equally successful and distinguished."

Woods, 51, joined Exxon in 1992 and has held positions with ExxonMobil Refining & Supply Co., ExxonMobil Chemical Co. and Exxon Co. International, as well as manager of Exxon Mobil investor relations. He was named a vice president in 2012, overseeing Exxon's global refining, supply and transportation activities. He was promoted to senior vice president in 2014 and president in January 2016. Starting in 2017, he will be CEO and chairman.

Exxon said Tillerson's designation for the secretary of state post simply moved the time frame for succession up and required no major changes to its plans.

"This change in leadership is consistent with the board of directors' succession plan developed years in advance and demonstrates the strength of the management development system," the company said.

Tillerson made about $24 million in compensation in 2016, including stock awards. As of Dec. 2, he controlled more than 2.6 million shares of company stock, according to an SEC filing. The total value of these shares, much of which is still unvested, was about $237 million at the Dec. 14 closing stock price of $90.58.