Obama to tap REI executive for Interior secretary

02 06, 2013 by USA Today

President Obama continues to fill out his second-term Cabinet, by nominating business executive Sally Jewell to be his new Interior secretary.

President Obama will nominate business executive Sally Jewell to be his new Interior secretary, officials said.

Jewell is the president and CEO of Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI), a $2 billion-a-year company that sells clothing and gear for the outdoors and is headquartered in Kent, Wash.

White House press secretary Jay Carney confirmed Jewell's selection; Obama is scheduled to make the formal announcement at 2 p.m.

If confirmed by the Senate, Jewell would replace Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who announced his resignation last month.

The selection of Jewell may also ease criticism that Obama has relied too much on white men to stock his second-term Cabinet.

Jewell introduced Obama at a 2011 White House event for "America's Great Outdoors Initiative." The Interior Department is responsible for managing the nation's public lands, and promoting conservation.

A former commercial banker for Washington Mutual, Jewell became president of REI in 2005.

Obama plans to stress Jewell's management skills as well as her involvement in conservation causes in nominating her for Interior.

In addition to her work with "America's Great Outdoors Initiative," Jewell has won numerous environmental awards, including the 2009 Rachel Carson Award for Environmental Conservation from the Audubon Society.