Donald Trump took to Twitter to announce Mr Tillerson’s unprecedented departure earlier today, naming CIA director Mike Pompeo as his successor.

Mr Tillerson announced he will give up his duties at the end of the day on Tuesday and give up his official role on March 31, in order to achieve a smooth transition.

He said: “What is most important is to ensure an orderly and smooth transition during a time that the country continues to face significant policy and national security challenges.”

Speaking to the media, the 65-year-old hailed the efforts of the State Department to rein in North Korea’s warmongering, adding that applying maximum pressure on the hermit state has “succeeded beyond expectations”.

He said his successor has a lot of work to do in order to build a better relationship with China and warned Russia that if it continues on its current path, it will become increasingly isolated.

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Rex Tillerson told reporters he was very proud of the State Department’s work during his tenure

He said he will return to his private life, suggesting he won’t be looking for another top role

The former oilman became the latest high-profile official to be removed from his post earlier today and joins the likes of White House economic adviser Gary Cohn and communications director Hope Hicks, who both announced plans to leave the administration earlier this week.

The news went public when the US President tweeted: “Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!”

Speaking to reporters after the news emerged, Trump thanked Mr Tillerson, adding: “I very much appreciate his commitment and his service and I wish him well.”

He admitted they “disagreed on things” and said he shares a more similar way of thinking with Tillerson’s successor, Mr Pompeo.

A White House official told Reuters Mr Tillerson was removed from his post so the President could install a new team ahead of talks with North Korea planned for May.

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