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Courts of the University of Texas Rex Tillerson will be the next Chancellor

The University of Texas pursues the outgoing US Secretary of State. U.S.

Rex Tillerson

become his next rector, according to people familiar with the matter.

The former CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp., who delivered his farewell address as the nation's top diplomat on Thursday and is formally set to leave his post on March 31 after a tumultuous term in the service of the president

Donald Trump

"He is said to be open to the opportunity to run the University of Texas System, one of the largest in higher education in the United States," the people said. ]

The search committee has not made any official offer to Mr. Tillerson, which is usually only done in the final stages of a selection process, the people said. But several members of a search committee are making a "hard effort" to lure Mr. Tillerson, a former student at the University of Texas and a native of Texas, to the position, one person said.

Mr. Tillerson remains undecided about his next move after his abrupt departure from Washington, the people said. He said through a spokesperson that he was receiving many requests and that no decision had been made.

The University of Texas System is seeking to fill the position soon, as current Chancellor

William McRaven,

a former Navy SEAL and four-star admiral, announced his intention to resign at May for health reasons. The system has an enrollment of more than 230,000 students, an annual budget of $ 18 billion and more than 100,000 employees.

A spokeswoman for the university system said in a statement that staff and administrators "are not involved in the search process of the Chancellor, nor are we informed of the names of any candidate or possible candidate."

In addition to being a former leader of one of the state's most iconic companies, Tillerson is a 1975 graduate of the University of Texas who was once a leader of section in the Longhorn band. His sudden availability may complicate a search that was expected to be concluded soon.

Some university constituencies had looked for a rector with experience in the academy, as well as a woman or candidate of a minority, said people familiar with the matter.

As chancellor, Mr. Tillerson would take the helm of an expanding conglomerate of higher education on a scale that can almost be compared to that of Exxon or the US Department of State. UU The position of chancellor would give him the administration of more than 14 institutions, including the University of Texas at Austin and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, one of the most important cancer research hospitals in the country.

Cal Jillson, a professor of political science at Southern Methodist University, questioned whether Mr. Tillerson would have the skills to succeed as chancellor, a position that requires mediation between 14 institutions, the state legislature and state business leaders.

"When I was the CEO of Exxon Mobil, he ascended the hierarchy and made the final decision," said Mr. Jillson. "In the work of the chancellor he would be at the head of the table but he will not lead the process, he is much more consultative".

Mr. Tillerson seemed exhausted and excited at times for leaving the State Department in several public appearances after being fired by Mr. Trump – a decision the president announced on Twitter – on March 13. He stressed the importance of being kind and of personal integrity, and the president is not mentioned by name.

Adding to the insult of the shots to the public of Mr. Tillerson, the assistants of the White House circulated the story that he had been in the bathroom when he received the call for the first time. From Washington, Mr. Tillerson said Thursday: "This may be a very mean city, but you do not have to choose to participate in it."

Mr. Tillerson has spoken fondly about his time at the University of Texas. He once joked with a group of students who specialized in civil engineering there because "God created organic chemistry for people to know when they do not belong to chemical engineering."

He recently spoke on the flagship of the Austin campus system in February.

Write to Bradley Olson at, Douglas Belkin at and Felicia Schwartz at

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