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Head of DU’s international studies reacts to Tillerson pick for secretary of state

DENVER -- Ambassador Chris Hill knows his way around the State Department and he likes President-elect Trump's pick of Rex Tillerson to be the new secretary of state.

"Rex Tillerson is a real adult.  He knows the world, he's dealt in the big leagues and I think he's going to be very effective," Hill said.

Hill is a four-time ambassador under three presidents.  He is now the dean of the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.

Tillerson is the CEO of ExxonMobil and has no government experience. Hill does not see that as a problem.

"I think the issue is, will he be able to learn the State Department and all the issues.  And what you have is an extremely competent individual and I have confidence he'll be able to do that," Hill said.

Some lawmakers have expressed concerns about Tillerson's relationship, with Russia but Hill dismisses that claim.

"Russia's a big country, it's a big oil-producing country and if you're head of Exxon, you're going to have to deal with Russia.  So I kind of discount that," Hill said.

Hill said it is crucial that Tillerson surround himself with good people.

"You can't necessarily choose your issues; sometimes those issues are going to choose you," Hill said. "And there's a lot of crisis response that a secretary of state needs to deal with and it's important to have a practical problem solving mentality and in Rex Tillerson you have such a person."

Tillerson's nomination will be considered by the U.S. Senate.