Obama Picks Female Business Executive for Interior

Obama to nominate business executive Sally Jewell as Interior secretary, in attempt to deflect criticism from lack of diversity in Cabinet.

Rachel Hirshfeld ,

Sally Jewell
Sally Jewell

In an attempt to deflect criticism from the lack of diversity in his second-term Cabinet, President Barack Obama will nominate business executive Sally Jewell, as Interior secretary, a White House official announced on Wednesday.

If confirmed by the Senate, Jewell, who heads Recreational Equipment Inc., an outdoors retail chain, will succeed Ken Salazar at secretary of the Interior, which manages the nation’s national resources, wildlife, tribal issues and national parks.

"With years of experience managing a nearly $2 billion a year company, she will bring to the position integrity, keen management skills, as well as dedication to the Department's mission of managing our nation's lands," a White House official said.

"She believes deeply in the American tradition of preserving our nation's wild places, while also understanding firsthand the inextricable link between conservation and the economy.

"She also believes we must be good stewards of our nation's natural resources, underscoring the administration's ongoing priority of expanding safe and responsible energy production," the official said, noting that Jewell began her career as an engineer for Mobil Oil Corporation.

Obama has been widely criticized for a lack of diversity in his second-term Cabinet after nominating Chuck Hagel, John Kerry and Jack Lew, to serve as the secretaries of Defense, State and Treasury.