L.L.Bean named Stephen Smith as president and CEO. The hiring marks the first time in the L.L.Bean’s 103-year history it’s gone outside the company for its new CEO.
Smith will replace Chris McCormick who has served as President and CEO since 2001 and, as reported, is retiring at the end of the fiscal year, February 2015. He will be the fourth President in L.L.Bean history, and the first outsider to lead the company. He comes to Bean with an extensive background in the retail industry, experience that spans customer relationship management, strategy, brand development, marketing, and merchandising across all channels.
“We are very pleased with the selection of Steve Smith as our next President,” said Shawn Gorman, L.L.Bean chairman of the board. “Hiring a CEO who embodies the values of Bean was a top priority for the family and the Board, and I am confident we have done just that. He has a deep understanding of and appreciation for customer needs, and multi-channel retailing, which is well aligned with our approach here at L.L.Bean.”
Smith began his career in New York but moved to Maine in the late 1990s when he joined Resort Sports Network (RSN) where he rose to vice president of sales and marketing. Later, he moved to Hannaford Supermarkets as Director of Marketing. Since then, he has held several executive level roles at both U.S. and internationally-based retailers, including Sweetbay Supermarkets and Delhaize Le Lion (sister companies of Hannaford) in Florida and Belgium, and Walmart International subsidiaries, including Sam’s Club in China, ASDA in the United Kingdom, and Yihaodian, a pure e-commerce business located in Shanghai.
Smith said, “I welcome the opportunity to lead one of the world’s best brands, known for quality products and outstanding customer service. L.L.Bean is a company I have long admired, both as a customer and as a retailer. I also am looking forward to returning to Maine where my family has deep ties and where we can embrace our love of the outdoors.”
Smith will join the company in early January, allowing for a period of transition before Chris McCormick retires at the end of the fiscal year, February 2016.