REI CEO Sally Jewel tapped as interior secretary
By Kent Hoover
Washington Bureau Chief
Sally Jewell, CEO of REI, has been identified as President Barack Obama's pick to lead the Interior Department.
Some people go to REI for hiking boots; President Barack Obama went there for a new Interior secretary.
Obama today announced that Sally Jewell, CEO of outdoor gear and apparel retailer Recreational Equipment Inc., is his choice to succeed Ken Salazar as head of the Department of Interior.
The president praised Jewell for REI's retail success -- its annual sales total $1.8 billion -- and for its environmental consciousness. The Kent, Wash.-based company has donated millions of dollars to protect trails and parks, Obama noted, and its stores get 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy resources.
Jewell "knows the link between conservation and good jobs," he said.
She also is "an expert on the energy and climate issues that are going to shape our future," Obama said.
And Jewell is no stranger to the outdoors: She even spent one summer climbing mountains in Antarctica, something Obama said he wouldn't do because "it seems like it'd be cold, and I was born in Hawaii."
Jewell also is no stranger to the president; she sat by his side during a White House session in 2009 on health care reform, where she talked about REI's health care plan.
(If you want to know more about Jewell's time at REI, check out this profile from the Puget Sound Business Journal, which named her its Executive of the Year in 2006.)
"This is a stellar decision," Salazar said, as he stood in the White House with Obama and Jewell during the announcement.
Jewell started her professional life as a petroleum engineer, and that knowledge and experience "will serve her well as she implements your all-of-the-above energy agenda," Salazar told Obama.
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