Sally Jewell is appointed Secretary for the Interior. Photo: Pete Souza/White House CC-BY-3.0

Sally Jewell is appointed Secretary for the Interior. Photo: Pete Souza/White House [CC-3.0]

The US president has chosen the boss of an outdoor retailer to be the country’s next Secretary of the Interior.

Barack Obama nominated Sally Jewell for the post, which involves oversight of the natural environment and the US national parks.

Ms Jewell is chief executive of a retail co-operative, Recreational Equipment Incorporated, which has a strong reputation for good environmental stewardship and employment rights.

The British-born 53-year-old woman, who moved to Seattle with her family as a small child, was previously an oil and banking executive.

She will take over from Ken Salazar, whom President Obama appointed during his first term. The appointment is subject to confirmation by the Senate.

Mr Obama said: “She is an expert on the energy and climate issues that are going to shape our future.

“She is committed to building our nation-to-nation relationship with Indian Country. She knows the link between conservation and good jobs.

“She knows that there’s no contradiction between being good stewards of the land and our economic progress; that in fact, those two things need to go hand in hand.

“She has shown that a company with more than $1bn in sales can do the right thing for our planet.”

REI boasts it is the US’s largest consumer co-operative. It was formed by 23 climbing enthusiasts in Seattle in 1938.

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

“During her tenure, Sally 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 Sally’s commitment to leadership development, REI will be in good hands as the co-op’s board, upon her confirmation, considers a successor.”

The REI co-operative has more than 5 million members who can earn an annual dividend of 10 per cent on most of their purchases and elect board members.