Roark Names Former Vans Exec Jason Steris as CEO

Roark, an outdoor adventure brand, is adding to its C-suite.

The Irvine, Calif.-based company has hired former Volcom chief executive officer Jason Steris to serve as CEO. He will work closely with founder Ryan Hitzel who will now focus on brand, creative, product design and marketing as chief brand officer.

“Simply put, there’s no one I would trust more than Jason as our CEO,” Hitzel said. “I’ve known him since he was my boss at the surf shop 30 years ago and have had the opportunity to watch him achieve great things in his career through hard work, intuition, intelligence, consistent values and authenticity. I’ve always admired these qualities and can’t wait to see him apply them to Roark, along with his extensive knowledge base.” Both natives of Laguna Beach, Calif., the two worked together in their youth at Laguna Surf & Sport, according to published reports.

Steris, who spent 23 years at Volcom, rising from national sales manager to chief operating officer, president and CEO, added: “I am thrilled to be joining forces with the talented Roark team that has built a premium brand with a solid foundation. While the industry continues to evolve, the attraction of the surf and adventure lifestyle is undeniable, and I am privileged to return to my roots and reconnect with this community of specialty retailers and creative brands.”

Steris, who also served as CEO of motocross and mountain bike gear brand Troy Lee Designs, will start on Dec. 4 and report to both Hitzel and the board of directors.

Hitzel said that Steris’s addition “will allow me to focus on what I love — leading the brand, design, marketing and creative, while he leads the business and operations,” and pointed to the new CEO’s experience running mid- and large omnichannel companies that should help Roark continue to develop its wholesale, e-commerce and company-owned retail along with its premium product offering. Roark, which offers both men’s and womenswear, operates five of its own stores in California, Colorado and Utah. It is also carried in REI and surf and skate shops across the U.S.

Roark was founded in 2010 as a brand focused on a variety of activites including surfing, climbing, snowboarding and trail running. In 2017, it received an investment from the Archipelago Companies whose other holdings include OluKai, Melin and Kaenon.

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