President Obama is expected to name REI Chief Executive Officer Sally Jewel his choice to lead the U.S. Interior Department, a White House official said.
Obama was expected to announce his choice of successor to departing Kenneth Salazar on Wednesday, The Washington Post said.
Jewell began her career as an engineer for Mobil Oil and worked as a commercial banker before becoming CEO of Recreational Equipment, a nearly $2 billion outdoors equipment company.
Jewell, who must be confirmed by the Senate, has less public policy experience than other candidates reportedly being considered but has been nationally recognized for her management skills and support for outdoor recreation and habitat conservation.
Molly McUsic, president of land conservation-focused Wyss Foundation, told the Post in an email Jewell "understands the full economic potential of America's resources."
"She knows the oil-and-gas business from having worked at Mobil and in the banking industry, but also understands the growing economic potential of America's $646 billion outdoor recreation industry," McUsic said. "She knows that to grow the economy, development of energy resources must be on equal ground with the protection of places that drive tourism, travel, and recreation."
The post said other contenders included former Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, a Democrat; Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Interior Deputy Secretary David Hayes.
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