Obama to Pick REI Honcho for Interior Secretary

Sally Jewell will be first woman appointed in second term

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 6, 2013 7:50 AM CST

(Newser) – President Obama will make an unconventional Cabinet pick today, naming REI Equipment Inc. CEO Sally Jewell as his new secretary of the Interior, a source tells the Washington Post. Jewell has had an interesting career path: She started out as an engineer for Mobil Oil, then became a commercial banker, before finally landing her spot at REI. She has little policy experience, though she has occasionally dipped her toe into politics, introducing Obama at the White House's 2011 Great Outdoors Initiative and taking part in Obama's 2009 CEO health care summit.

But Jewell isn't a partisan Democrat; she made a high-profile appearance in support of John McCain in 2008. The pick is also unusual, the Post points out, because the Interior secretary position is often reserved for a Western politician. But Jewell would give Obama another woman in his Cabinet, countering critics who complained that his early second-term nominees were all men.

President Barack Obama, seated center, makes a statement on health care reform at the White House, in this May 12, 2009 file photo. Sally Jewel sits to his right.
President Barack Obama, seated center, makes a statement on health care reform at the White House, in this May 12, 2009 file photo. Sally Jewel sits to his right.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
An REI Prototype Store in Boulder, Colo,
An REI Prototype Store in Boulder, Colo,   (Photo: Business Wire)
This March, 2006 file photo shows Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) CEO Sally Jewell at REI's Seattle flagship store.
This March, 2006 file photo shows Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) CEO Sally Jewell at REI's Seattle flagship store.   (AP Photo/Scott Cohen)
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