Obama to nominate REI chief Jewell for Interior

President Barack Obama on Wednesday will nominate Sally Jewell, president and CEO of the outdoor and recreational retailer REI, to replace outgoing Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, the White House confirmed to POLITICO.

The pick, first reported by The Washington Post, would be well received by environmental groups yet also offer something for the oil and gas industry: Jewell is a board member of the National Parks Conservation Association and was a young petroleum engineer at Mobil before it merged with Exxon.

A former Interior Department official quickly praised Jewell.

“Sally has overseen the growth of a $1.8 billion company consistently ranked among the best U.S. companies for which to work. An engineer by training, she is a practical, no-nonsense leader who is focused on results,” the former DOI official said in an email. “Will bring fresh perspective and new ideas: A problem-solver by nature, Sally brings people together to find new solutions to old challenges. She knows Washington, D.C., but she also has the much-needed perspective of a business leader who has forged a career outside of D.C.’s partisanship and politics.”

Jewell’s appointment would also help soothe concerns about the overwhelming presence of white males among Obama’s second-term Cabinet picks.

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