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Officials: Obama to tap REI exec for Interior secretary

Feb. 6, 2013 - 10:39AM   |  
By DAVID JACKSON   |   Comments

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.

Two administration officials confirmed the appointment, speaking on condition that they not be named because Obama will make a formal announcement this afternoon. .

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 Recreational Equipment 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.

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David Jackson writes for USA Today.

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