Chu announces resignation from Energy; REI exec tapped for Interior

As John Kerry takes the reins of the State Department, Chuck Hagel awaits a vote on his nomination as secretary of defense and John Brennan goes to Capitol Hill for his confirmation hearing as CIA director, more Obama administration cabinet changes are in the offing.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning biophysicist, announced Friday he will leave the Energy Department after a successor is confirmed. Chu, formerly director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, is a strong proponent for clean, renewable energy, according to his official bio.
Other recent Cabinet resignations, pending confirmation of successors, include Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, as well as interim Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank. President Obama has not yet made replacement nominations.
He has, however, nominated Recreational Equipment Inc.-- better known as REI-- Chief Executive Officer Sally Jewell to replace Ken Salazar as interior secretary. In his nomination speech, Obama described Jewell as an expert in energy and climate issues.
"I have a great job at REI today, but there's no role that compares than the call to serve my country as secretary of the Department of Interior," Jewell said, according to a transcript from PBS Newshour.
Jewell, a native of Great Britain who has been REI's CEO since 2005, has a degree in mechanical engineering and started her career as an oil industry engineer, reports USA Today. She sits on the boards of the National Parks Conservation Association and Initiative for Global Development, according to the newspaper.
In a statement issued Wednesday, REI said that during her tenure Jewell has nearly doubled sales, added 71 stores and "greatly expanded" the company's online business.
For more:
- see a White House blog post on the Jewell nomination
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