Obama Makes An Inspired Choice For The Next Interior Secretary

Barack Obama

Photo: AP

President Barack Obama  nominated Sally Jewell, the CEO of Recreational Equipment Inc., to be his next Interior Secretary.Jewell’s selection is an unconventional one because the post is typically “reserved for career politicians from the West.”

Jewell, on the other hand, has little experience in public policy. Jewell began her professional career as an engineer for Mobil Oil Corporation in Oklahoma and Colorado before moving onto the commercial banking industry for 19 years. 

She started as CEO at REI in 2005, where she quickly helped the company build on recent growth. Here’s what she told Seattle Business Magazine of her time at the company in a 2012 interview:

“When I began as COO, our growth was stagnating. We invested in the internet, but we underinvested in our retail stores, the core of the business. We were good at colder climates but not so good at southern climates. We developed great, innovative products, but I felt we had an enormous opportunity to analyse our member data better to understand what our customers wanted. We’ve since relocated a lot of our stores to more convenient places.”

Jewell would succeed Ken Salazar as Interior Secretary. She would also be the second woman to hold the post full-time. She is also the first woman Obama has picked among his second-term Cabinet nominees.

The Interior Department controls and maintains millions of acres in national parks and forests.

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