May 27, 2020
Simon Perkins, who worked for 11 years as a fly-fishing guide in Montana, and has since worked in every part of the Orvis business, has been appointed as Orvis company president. He will assume full strategic and operational leadership immediately. Outgoing president/CEO Bill McLaughlin, who has worked closely with Perkins on the Orvis executive team, will act as an advisor through the transition period.
Simon is the third generation of the Perkins family to lead Orvis since 1965. He is the son of Leigh “Perk” Perkins, former Orvis CEO, and grandson of Leigh H. Perkins, who purchased The Orvis Company in 1965.
“We have worked hard over a decade to position Orvis to thrive in the omnichannel retail environment of the future. Simon is the ideal leader to drive our brand forward, continuing to inspire our customers, associates, and partners to lead more fulfilling lives rooted in our core pursuits of fly fishing and wing shooting with dogs at our sides,” says Marka Hansen, Orvis chair. “Since joining Orvis in 2012, Simon has served as a unifying leader across departments and categories, overseeing significant growth in our Orvis Adventures business, and acting as a leading voice in the evolution of product innovation, brand storytelling, and purpose-led business initiatives. I have enjoyed working closely with Simon and I am thrilled to see where he takes this company in the future.”
As chief operating officer since August 2018, Perkins has overseen the execution of the company’s long-term strategic planning. Perkins started at Orvis in January 2012 as the e-commerce merchant for fly fishing and hunting, with channel responsibility for the brand’s direct-to-consumer sales of core sporting products. He has since filled leadership roles across the merchandising, adventures and brand marketing teams, serving as vice president of brand marketing prior to his appointment as COO.
Before joining Orvis, Perkins spent 11 years as an upland hunting and fly fishing guide in Montana, sharing his love of the outdoors, fishing and hunting with clients. In his time at Orvis, Perkins has championed projects aimed at diversifying the sport of fly fishing, such as the 50/50 on the Water initiative and the Breaking Barriers Award, which highlights individuals broadening the fly fishing audience. Perkins also serves on the board of Trout Unlimited Headwaters, and has been a driver of Orvis’s involvement in advocacy for conservation projects in locations such as Bristol Bay, Alaska, and Florida’s Everglades.
“This company has meant so much to me throughout my life as I’ve watched it grow into the brand it is today. Over the past 160 years, Orvis has gone from a catalog mail-order company to a globally recognized fishing, wing shooting, and lifestyle apparel brand that is deeply invested in education and conservation,” says Perkins. “Orvis has the ability to make this world a better place, to inspire others to get outside, explore and connect with the outdoor wonders of the world. I look forward to working with our incredible team and partners to continue providing best in class products and service to our customers, and guiding the company and our community into the future.”
In addition to the appointment of Perkins, the board of directors for The Orvis Company recently named Marka Hansen chair and Roger Farah vice chair and special advisor to the president, effective immediately. Hansen is a former executive with The Gap and Banana Republic, and currently serves on the board of Stitch Fix and J.Jill. Farah has previously worked as a consultant and executive with retail brands including Tiffany & Co., Tory Burch and Ralph Lauren. Both Hansen and Farah have a deep appreciation for the Orvis lifestyle. Hansen is a devoted angler, hunter and dog lover, while Farah is passionate about bird hunting and sporting clays.
“Perk” Perkins and David Perkins, who previous held the chairman and vice chairman roles, will retain at-large seats on the board of directors.