Obama to nominate REI CEO as Interior secretary

President Obama announced his intention to nominate Sally Jewell, CEO of Recreational Equipment, Inc., known as REI, as the next secretary for the Department of the Interior.

If confirmed Jewell, whose company sells clothing and gear for outdoor enthusiasts, will replace Ken Salazar who announced last month that he would resign in March.

Jewell has been CEO of REI since 2005. She joined the company after working in commercial banking and as an engineer for Mobile Oil Corp.


As REI CEO, Jewell was paid more than $2 million annually to manage the company that Fortune Magazine has named one of the top 100 companies to work for in the country.

Jewell’s nomination also ends speculation that John Berry, now the head of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, would be nominated for that post.

REI issued the following statement regarding Jewell’s nomination:

REI applauds President Obama’s nomination of Sally Jewell, REI’s CEO and president, to be the nation’s Secretary of the Interior. Sally is a remarkable leader, an excellent business person and a thoughtful steward of our public lands and resources. We believe that she will do a superb job in this very important role.

Sally has led REI as CEO since 2005 and during that time has provided steady leadership for the co-op and its thoughtful growth. During her tenure REI has increased sales from $1 billion to nearly $2 billion, added 71 stores, and greatly expanded its online business. Under Sally’s leadership, the company has been named annually to Fortune Magazine’s list of the Best Companies to Work For.

During her tenure, Sally championed the co-op’s engagement in supporting volunteer stewardship of public lands, as well as the efforts to manage REI’s environmental footprint. And, because of Sally’s commitment to leadership development, REI will be in good hands as the co-op’s Board, upon her confirmation, considers a successor.

Sally’s broad business background, community leadership, and her depth of knowledge of the range of issues managed by the Department of the Interior will be of significant value to the department and great service to the nation.

REI encourages Sally’s confirmation so that she can begin her important work on behalf of the country and its natural spaces.

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