Roark announces the hiring of industry veteran Jason Steris as CEO, bringing broad leadership acumen and global operations expertise as the brand continues its growth as an omni-channel business across the Men’s, Women’s and performance Run/Active divisions. He will work in partnership with founder Ryan Hitzel, who will focus on Roark’s 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. 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,” said Hitzel.
Jason Steris’s experience as an apparel brand leader and operator provides Roark with a strong base as the company enters a new stage of growth. “I am thrilled to be joining forces with the talented Roark team that has built a premium brand with a solid foundation,” said Jason Steris. “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.”
Jason Steris joined action sports brand Volcom in its early years and spent 23 years at the brand, holding various positions from National Sales Manager to COO, President, and CEO. From there, he served as CEO at motocross and mountain bike gear brand Troy Lee Designs.
“There are so many reasons to be excited about Jason joining the team. The partnership will allow me to focus on what I love – leading the brand, design, marketing, and creative, while he leads the business and operations,” concluded Hitzel. Jason’s experience running mid-size and large omni-channel companies gives him a great vantage point to help Roark continue to develop its wholesale, ECOM, and company-owned retail while enhancing the premium product offering across divisions.
Steris starts on December 4th, 2023, and will report to the Board of Directors alongside Founder and Chief Brand Officer, Ryan Hitzel.
Founded in 2010, Roark is an Adventure Lifestyle brand that tells authentic stories born of travel and discovery, while building essential travel-tailored apparel for wherever in the world you find yourself. Its products are functional without compromising style, inspired by remote destinations where their team explores and tests the product amongst a myriad of activities: surfing, climbing, snowboarding, trail running, and more. Roark continues to expand upon its sustainability efforts and the use of Fair-Trade factories with every season.
Roark received an investment from strategic partner, the Archipelago Companies, in 2017. Archipelago Companies is a holding company that backs founders and operators by investing in and building high integrity consumer lifestyle brands with a purpose. Archipelago’s focus is on ensuring the strategic integrity and operational excellence of its entire portfolio of premium brands with provision of guidance, capital and operational support. Archipelago’s portfolio includes OluKai, Melin, Roark and Kaenon, all of which have become leaders in their respective markets since joining Archipelago.