December 1, 2021 – Chief people officers continue to step up at businesses across the country, playing a vital role in helping organizations navigate their way forward. Executive recruiters across the business landscape report that searches for these C-suite executives will only continue to rise as the workplace transitions.
For some organizations this is a new role: New York-based retail and consumer focused executive search firm Herbert Mines Associates recently assisted in the recruitment of Rebecca Jones as the first chief people officer of Orvis, the family-owned and operated outdoor retailer that specializes in fly-fishing gear, dog products and active lifestyle apparel. Managing director Caitlin Kenefick led the assignment.
Ms. Jones will provide executive oversight for the human resources department at Orvis, focusing on employee engagement and support, talent development, and training and growth within the organization.
“Orvis is at an exciting inflection point in their 165-year history with new leadership by the next generation president Simon Perkins,” said Ms. Kenefick. “In this newly created role, Rebecca will lead the organization’s people function, in addition to being a strategic thought partner to Simon as they further their people-centric culture in addition to implementing new, progressive people practices.”
Ms. Kenefick said that Ms. Jones brings a track-record of transformation, “including her six years at European Wax Center where she facilitated high-growth, leadership and ownership changes, and ultimately, an IPO,” adding: “Not only does Rebecca have the right professional experience but she is an excellent culture fit who authentically aligns with Orvis’ values, mission and brand framework.”
2021 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Recruiting Report:
Building a Balanced and Diverse Workforce
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“From our retail stores to our fly rod shop, our Orvis family is our most valuable resource at this company,” said Simon Perkins, president of Orvis. “We are thrilled to welcome Rebecca to this new and exciting role. Her background in strong, values-led culture will help us continue to build upon our own, and our commitment to supporting and growing our people within the organization as we continue to evolve.”
Ms. Jones brings over 20 years of executive and senior leadership experience from her time spent working in the hospitality, beauty and retail industries for brands including Starboard Cruise Services, Carnival Cruise Lines and John Hardy jewelers. Prior to Orvis, she served as chief people officer at European Wax Center, where she led the company’s human resources strategy, talent development, and diversity and inclusivity initiatives.
In her new role, Ms. Jones will provide strategic expertise for training and advancing people, building culture, hiring, and onboarding, enhancing social responsibility initiatives, and developing a long-term vision and strategy for Orvis and its people. Additionally, her role as chief people officer will play a critical part in evaluating organizational design, from executive coaching to the implementation of learning and development programs. As the pandemic has reshaped the structure of many businesses, including Orvis, Ms. Jones will be instrumental in providing resources to employees to ensure ongoing growth and connection within the organization.
“Orvis has been a family-owned, values-led company since the very beginning, and it’s clear that they care deeply about people,” said Ms. Jones. “I am excited to roll up my sleeves and to be a part of a unique company in the outdoor industry that pairs passion with purpose and is always moving forward.”
Founded in 1856, Orvis pioneered the mail order industry in the U.S., operates more than 80 retail stores in the U.S and the U.K., and maintains a network of over 400 dealers worldwide.
“This is the second search we have conducted at Orvis (placing Reenie Benzinger as chief product officer in 2020) and we are honored to serve as strategic partners to Simon and his leadership team at this pivotal time in the Orvis history,” Ms. Kenefick said.
Serving Retail Companies
Established in 1978, Herbert Mines is a specialist search firm focusing on the retail, fashion and apparel, beauty, consumer products and services, hospitality, leisure, restaurant, and digital/technology industries. The firm is noted for its C-suite recruiting work.
Herbert Mines Associates recently assisted in the recruitment of Rachael Vegas as chief merchandising officer for BJ’s Wholesale Club. She will be responsible for the strategic leadership of the company’s merchandising and assortment planning and allocation functions, and will report to Paul Cichocki, executive vice president and chief commercial officer. Most recently, Ms. Vegas was senior vice president, ecommerce merchandising at H-E-B, where she was responsible for its ecommerce business as well as its in-store financial services and payments division and its retail media initiative.
“We remain committed to delivering unbeatable value with a best-in-class merchandising assortment that will exceed our members’ expectations,” said Mr. Cichocki. “We’re thrilled to have Rachael join our team. Her diverse background and deep experience in retail and grocery will be influential as we continue to build on our momentum and advance our strategic priorities.”
Ms. Kenefick focuses on high-level search assignments for clients within the retail and consumer products industries. She brings a particular focus on merchandising, marketing, retail/stores, human resources, and strategy functions within the retail sector. She has worked extensively with public, private, and PE-backed clients.
Last year, Ms. Kenefick, along with Herbert Mines’ president Brenda Malloy and managing director Alison Weil, placed Gil Phipps as the new senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Sprouts Farmers Market in Phoenix, AZ. With more than 20 years of experience in the grocery industry, Mr. Phipps was recruited to Sprouts from Cincinnati, OH-based Kroger Co., the parent company of Arizona’s Fry’s Food Stores.
“At Herbert Mines Associates, we pride ourselves on quality – it is the foundation of our business and permeates into everything we do – quality of candidates, of our assessments, our references, our communication and in the transparency of our interactions with clients and candidates,” said Ms. Kenefick.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media