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Obama taps CEO of REI to head Interior Department


Washington -- President Obama has selected Sally Jewell, president and CEO of Recreational Equipment Inc., to lead the Interior Department, White House officials said Wednesday.

Jewell, a former banker and Mobile Oil Corp. executive, is an outdoors enthusiast and conservation advocate. She joined the board of REI in 1996, and was appointed COO in 2000. In 2005, she was named CEO. Under her leadership, REI increased sales from $1 billion to nearly $2 billion, added 71 stores, and greatly expanded its online business.

Jewell is the first woman to be asked to join Obama's second-term Cabinet. If confirmed by the Senate, she will replace current Secretary Ken Salzar, who has led the department since the beginning of the Obama administration. Salazar, a Colorado Democrat, was elected to the Senate in 2004.

Jewell’s nomination was applauded by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), of which she is a board member.

“Sally is a well-respected retail executive, with a remarkable commitment to REI’s members, customers and employees. I have no doubt that she will guide the Department of the Interior with the same vision and leadership with which she led REI,” said RILA president Sandy Kennedy.

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