Sally Jewell is set to be sworn in as the 51st secretary of interior on Friday afternoon, following an overwhelming Senate confirmation vote Wednesday.
The former CEO of Recreational Equipment Inc. will take the reins of the Interior Department from Ken Salazar, who announced his resignation soon after President Barack Obama began his second term.
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Jewell is slated to take the oath of office during a small private ceremony at the Supreme Court. Retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who worked with Jewell on the National Parks Second Century Commission, will administer the oath.
On Monday, Jewell is slated to meet with some of the 70,000 career employees at the Interior Department and hold smaller meetings on such subjects as energy development, conservation and Indian affairs.
Jewell’s diverse resume has won praise even from her critics on Capitol Hill. In addition to her eight years heading REI, Jewell spent three years as an engineer for Mobil Oil Corp. She also spent 19 years in the commercial banking industry, including time as an energy analyst.
“You can’t run a multibillion dollar company like REI…without showing the ability to manage, to bring people together, and, particularly, to anticipate some of the exciting trends in the years ahead,” said Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on Thursday.
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Salazar plans to return to his wife and autistic granddaughter in Colorado, where his family has lived for four generations. During his four-year tenure at Interior Secretary, he oversaw the beginnings of a new era of oil
exploration in the Arctic, approved the nation’s first major renewable power installations on federal lands and helped end a long-running lawsuit by native Americans against the federal government.
Salazar also will forever be linked to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as well as the sweeping overhaul of offshore drilling oversight that came afterward.