L.L. Bean's first chief executive from outside the founding family to retire in 2016 [Bangor Daily News, Maine :: ]
(Bangor Daily News (ME) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) May 19--FREEPORT, Maine -- L.L. Bean President and Chief Executive Officer Chris McCormick, the Maine-based company's first leader from outside the Gorman family in its 102-year history, announced Monday that he plans to retire in March 2016 after what will be 15 years as CEO and 33 years with the company.
In a memo to the company's employees, McCormick wrote that he gave early notice of his retirement to set in motion planning for his replacement.
"The timing of my announcement and lead-time for my departure has been planned to provide for careful consideration of the skills, leadership qualities and experience that Bean will need in its next CEO, and for the board to carefully consider in potential candidates," he wrote.
McCormick, 58, started at the company in 1983 and was its chief operating officer before taking over as president and CEO in 2001. McCormick led the 102-year-old retailer through growth into international markets, transition to online sales and the establishment of practical gear such as its signature Bean Boot as fashionable footwear.
McCormick wrote that he notified board chairman Shawn Gorman last week of his retirement plan and that discussions have started to identify his successor. He succeeded Leon Gorman, who had led the company for 40 years.
The memo Monday was accompanied by a list of accomplishments during McCormick's tenure, including a $400 million increase in sales to more than $1.56 billion last year. The company saw Internet sales rise to $1 billion during that period, outstripping catalog sales for the first time in the company's history.
The company also increased space at its order fulfillment center by half.
Its retail presence also expanded outside of the state, growing from one store outside Maine in 2001 to 19 stores outside the state in 2014. The company plans to open three more store this year.
Later this year, the company plans its largest single capital investment of $100 million in its web systems, retail stores and internal business systems.
McCormick wrote that he's leaving the company in a strong financial position after weathering the recession that started in late 2007.
"The company has grown, is financially strong and debt free," he wrote.
Carolyn Beem, a spokeswoman for L.L. Bean, said the company hasn't taken steps to identify a successor but McCormick's advance announcement leaves its board in a good position to do that.
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