By Eugene Buchanan
There’s soon to be a river and mountain lover in the White House. In a move that seems to make outdoor enthusiasts pretty happy, REI Chief Executive Officer Sally Jewell has been nominated by President Obama to become the next secretary of the interior.
If her nomination is approved by the Senate, Jewell, 56, will be tasked with the protection and preservation of America’s natural resources, cultural and tribal communities. Long a champion for the outdoor industry in Washington D.C., she is familiar with the many issues the Department of the Interior oversees. As head of REI, Jewell has been recognized for her contributions to the Outdoor Industry Association’s policy agenda.
“The recreation community is delighted by her nomination,” says American Recreation Coalition president Derrick Crandall. “Sally has invested heavily with her time as a leader on the America’s Great Outdoors initiative, has supported use of the outdoors as a tool for better health and for stronger, sustainable communities. And she’s worked through REI, recreation organizations and personally to connect younger, more urban and ethnically diverse Americans to our share legacy of parks, forests and other outdoor
At REI, Jewell, with a long-lasting record of environmental stewardship, helped push revenues to nearly $2 billion and earn the company a place on Fortune Magazine’s “Best Places to Work” list. Last year, REI donated nearly $4 million to conservation efforts, producing trails, parks and more.
As for her existing role there, this is one of the only reasons she would ever leave. “I have a great job at REI, but there’s no role that compares to the call to serve my country as secretary of the department of interior,” she said about the nomination.
As for paddling interests, just look at the photo. When’s the last time you saw a secretary of interior wearing a PFD?