WASHINGTON (2/7/13)--Sally Jewell, president/CEO of the nation's largest consumer cooperative, REI, has been nominated to serve as Secretary of the Interior by President Barack Obama.
National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) President/CEO Michael Beall said the association and its members are energized by the selection. "We are proud that the president turned to the cooperative sector to select the newest member of his cabinet… Sally Jewell leads an extraordinary organization that represents the best of the cooperative business community," he added.
Jewell has also worked in the energy and banking industries. If confirmed, she will replace outgoing Secretary of the interior Ken Salazar.
Obama called Jewell "an expert on the energy and climate issues that are going to shape our future," and said "she knows the link between conservation and good jobs... She knows that there is 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." The Secretary of the Interior oversees 500 million acres of government owned public land.
The National Cooperative Bank (NCB) ranked REI as the 27th largest cooperative business in the nation on its 2012 NCB Co-op 100 List. REI's 2011 sales totaled $1.8 billion, and the business welcomed more than 840,000 new members during that year. The company returned $137.2 million to its members and invested $4.48 million in national and community-based conservation organizations.
REI is the nation's largest consumer cooperative, but there are cooperatives in virtually every sector of the economy, the NCBA noted. The nation's 29,000 cooperatives generate 2 million jobs each year, contribute $652 billion in annual sales, and possess $3 trillion in assets, according to the NCBA.
"Whether it's providing affordable housing through a housing cooperative, providing affordable financial services through a credit union, providing affordable and reliable utility services to rural residents, providing farmers and small businesses with access to markets, cooperative business enterprises are major players in the U.S. economy," Beall said.