L.L. Bean named Stephen Smith as its new president and CEO. Smith will replace Chris McCormick, who is retiring at the end of February 2016 after 14 years leading the company.
Smith will be the fourth president in L.L. Bean's history and is the first president hired from outside the company or the founding family. He was most recently chief merchandising and marketing officer at Yihaodian, a Chinese e-commerce retailer recently acquired by Walmart.
He was previously with Walmart, where he served as senior VP of Walmart International, chief customer officer of Asada, chief marketing officer of Asda and Walmart China, and senior VP for new formats of Sam's Club in China.
Prior to Walmart, Smith spent nearly 10 years in leadership positions at Delhaize Group across several banners. He was director of marketing for Hannaford Bros; VP of marketing and later senior VP or merchandising and buying at Sweetbay Supermarket; and eventually senior VP of strategy, marketing and communications at Delhaize Le Lion.
"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," said Shawn Gorman, L.L. Bean chairman. "[Smith] 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 commented on his appointment, "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."
The appointment of the company's fourth president comes two months after the death of Leon Gorman, the grandson of L.L Bean's founder who spent 34 years as president of the company. Press Release