Rex Tillerson was the former CEO of energy giant ExxonMobil before he was the former secretary of state. Big jobs, both, and Tillerson looked and sounded every bit the corporate titan, with a leonine head framed by thinning white hair; chevron eyebrows; a soothing, basso Texas drawl; dark suits; and an easy self-assurance. By the time Tillerson stood at a podium in the US state department briefing room on Tuesday, after being fired by the US President Donald Trump, he was a man so diminished and humiliated that he occasionally appeared to be out of breath, his voice shaky, his delivery dutiful and subdued. After checking off a list of his accomplishments as secretary of state, Tillerson thanked everyone but Trump. "I’ll now return to private life as a private citizen," he said. "As a proud American. Proud of the opportunity I’ve had to serve my country." Then he left without taking any questions. Tillerson is a reminder of the price some people pay for existing in Trump’s orbit. Tru...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, Morningstar financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00.