Leon Gorman, the grandson of L.L. Bean founder Leon Leonwood Bean, died from cancer at age 80.
Gorman is credited with transforming L.L. Bean from a mail-order catalog business to a global supplier of apparel and outdoor equipment—now operating retail stores, producing more than 50 separate catalog titles, and generating annual sales of $1.61 billion.
Gorman was president and CEO of L.L. Bean for 34 years, from 1967 to 2001. He served as chairman for another 12 years and was chairman emeritus since 2013.
"He's the person who took over his grandfather's company and made it into a legend," Jennifer Wilson, one of Gorman's three children, told Portland Press Herald. ""Not surprisingly, the personality traits that describe our company fit my dad to a tee."
The late L.L. Bean visionary was also a well-known philanthropist. Under Gorman's leadership, L.L. Bean donated more than $6 million over the past five years to the organizations like the National Park Foundation, Appalachian Trail Conference and Maine Audubon. Him and his wife, Lisa, were also active in United Way campaigns and helped build a YMCA in Freeport, Maine.
Gorman was an icon to veteran employees and also well respected by Maine's community members, and his life "touched Mainers of all social classes," Portland Press Herald reported.
In honor of Gorman, L.L. Bean's flagship retail store in Freeport, Maine—a store that is open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year—will close for four hours on the day of Gorman's funeral, Sept. 13.
-See this Portland Press Herald article
L.L. Bean to triple store count by 2020
L.L. Bean has record year, plans $100 million expansion
Amazon, L.L. Bean Rank as Tops for Holiday Customer Service
L.L. Bean CEO to step down
Wegmans, L.L. Bean in top 10 for best reputation in retail