OMAHA, NEB. – Bruce Simon, chairman and chief executive officer of Omaha Steaks, died Feb. 17 of natural causes at age 63. His cousin, Todd Simon, will assume the roles of chairman and CEO, and Nate Rempe will continue in his roles as president and chief operating officer, effective immediately, the company said.

Bruce Simon, born on March 23, 1957, was one of the fifth generation of family owners of the world-famous purveyor of grain-fed beef and gourmet food that was founded in 1917. He attended Westside High School in Omaha, Neb., and graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

He spent more than three decades at Omaha Steaks, working alongside his cousin, Todd, their fathers Alan and Fred, and their uncle Stephen.

“It is with profound sadness that I announce the passing of my dear cousin and colleague Bruce Simon,” said Todd Simon, also a fifth-generation family owner of Omaha Steaks. “This company was founded by our great-great grandfather in 1917 and has been part of Bruce’s life since his childhood, where he’d accompany his father Alan to the plant and help assemble boxes to earn extra spending money. Under his tireless leadership since becoming company president in 1994, Omaha Steaks has become synonymous with the finest quality beef and gourmet foods.”

He is credited for playing a pivotal role in the growth of Omaha Steaks which employs more than 1,500 associates, has 3 million active customers and operates 48 retail stores in 20 states.

“He and his wife Stacy led by example through community service and philanthropic support,” the company said. Bruce, his family and Omaha Steaks were actively involved both as financial supporters and through board leadership, with Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha Conservatory of Music, Omaha Community Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Lauritzen Gardens, Friends of Florence, Omaha Zoo Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Clubs, and the SEAL Family Foundation, just to name a few.

“We worked closely together for more than three decades,” Simon said. “Bruce was tremendously proud of our unprecedented growth over the past year. The steps he and I took to put in place a strong leadership team and set a clear vision will ensure our continued success for generations to come. Along with our entire Omaha Steaks family, I am wholeheartedly committed to carrying Bruce’s legacy forward.”

He is survived by his wife Stacy and daughters Talia and Ellie, along with his mother Anne Simon and sister Janice Tecimur.