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Obama nominates Kent-based REI's Jewell to be Secretary of the Interior

Sally Jewell, REI CEO, has been nominated by President Obama to be the next Secretary of the Interior. - Reporter file photo
Sally Jewell, REI CEO, has been nominated by President Obama to be the next Secretary of the Interior.
— image credit: Reporter file photo

President Obama has nominated Sally Jewell, CEO and president of Kent-based REI, to be the nation's Secretary of the Interior.

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

"Sally is a remarkable leader, an excellent business person and a thoughtful steward of our public lands and resources," REI said in a company statement. "We believe that she will do a superb job in this very important role."

During her tenure, Jewell 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 her commitment to leadership development, REI will be in good hands as the co-op’s Board, upon her confirmation, considers a successor, the company said.

"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," according to the company's statement.

Jewell is a 1973 graduate of Renton High School and a University of Washington graduate. She grew up in the Renton School District, attending Bryn Mawr Elementary and Dimmitt Middle School.

If confirmed by the Senate, Jewell would replace Secretary Ken Salazar, who is returning to Colorado.

In a press release U.S. Sen Patty Murray, D-Wash., called Jewell an "accomplished leader."

"I have enjoyed a strong working relationship with Sally Jewell, who has proven to be an effective CEO in the business community, and will bring that skill set to the Cabinet,” Murray said.  “She understands the tremendous asset that our public lands are, particularly to the multi-billion dollar outdoor recreation based economy."

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