Obama to Name REI Exec as Interior Secretary

Sally Jewell, CEO of Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) is expected to be named Interior Secretary for President Obama’s second term this afternoon. Jewell joined REI’s board in 1996 and was appointed Chief Operations Officer (COO) in 2000. Five years later, in 2005, she was once more promoted, this time to CEO.


Besides being a high-powered executive for one of the country’s largest retailers, Jewell is also known for her involvement with several environmental health nonprofits. She has been the recipient of several awards for her public service, including the Rachel Carson Award for Environmental Conservation from the Audobon Society (2009), the Award for Public Service from the Woodrow Wilson Center (2012) and the Woman of Distinction Award from the Girl Scouts of Western Washington (2012).


Sally Jewell took part in a White House meeting on health care reform in 2009, offering her expertise in the area and discussing REI’s health benefits program. She also works with President Obama’s “America’s Great Outdoors Initiative,” which began in 2011. She is a member of several boards for nonprofit environmental groups, such as the National Parks Conservation Association.


REI brings in profits of about $2 billion per year, millions of which is donated to conservation efforts every year. Jewell seems particularly well qualified for the position of Interior Secretary, which would put her in charge of overseeing the health and conservation of the U.S.’s public lands.


The previous position holder, Ken Salazar, will be stepping down and returning to his native Colorado. If the Senate confirms Jewell, she will be the first woman to join the president’s Cabinet in his second term. The president will make the official announcement this afternoon at the White House.



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