Rex Tillerson, the ExxonMobil chief executive who is expected to be nominated as Donald Trump’s secretary of state, is professional and known personally to Russian President Vladimir Putin, a Kremlin spokesman said Monday.

"As part of his duties as head of one of the biggest oil companies, he had contacts with our representatives. The president received him several times,” the spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “He fulfils his tasks rather professionally,” the spokesman added.

The 64-year-old veteran oil executive is a front-runner to be the president-elect’s pick as secretary of state. He does not have government or diplomatic experience, but he is known to have good relations with Putin — especially after representing Exxon’s interests in Russia during the Boris Yeltsin administration. Tillerson has also disapproved sanctions imposed on Russia, which bestowed the country’s Order of Friendship honor on him in 2013.

One of ExxonMobil’s and Russia’s biggest deals was affected due to sanctions imposed by President Barack Obama’s administration after Russia’s Crimean invasion in 2014. That deal about the offshore Arctic Kara Sea oil field would have reportedly been worth $500 billion.

“We do not support sanctions, generally, because we don't find them to be effective unless they are very well implemented comprehensively and that’s a very hard thing to do,” Tillerson said in May 2014. “We always encourage the people who are making those decisions to consider the very broad collateral damage of who are they really harming with sanctions.”