REI CEO Nominated as Next Interior Secretary

President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that he is nominating Sally Jewell, president and CEO of the outdoor and recreational retailer REI, to replace Ken Salazar as Interior secretary.

Obama called Jewell a “strong and capable leader,” saying she’s “an expert on the energy and climate issues that are going to shape our future. … She knows the link between conservation and good jobs.”

At a 15-minute White House rollout with the president, Jewell said she was “humbled” and “energized” by the appointment.

“I’m going to do my best to fill those big boots of yours,” Jewell told Salazar. Drawing laughter from the audience, she added, “But I think I might get lost in your hat.”

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.