Chris McCormick, president and CEO of L.L. Bean, will step down in 2016 after 31 years with the company.
McCormick held the role of chief executive for 13 years, joining the retailer in 2001 to succeed Leon Gorman, grandson of founder L.L. Bean. McCormick said he was grateful that the family entrusted him with the company's operations.
"It was certainly a daunting experience to fill those shoes," McCormick said of Gorman, according to the Associated Press. Gorman is credited with modernizing the company after Bean's death in 1967.
McCormick notified his team of his retirement this week to facilitate a smooth transition. The company said it will begin searching for a new CEO from both inside and outside the company, with a preference to promote someone from within who understands the company culture.
The 102-year-old L.L. Bean is coming off its fourth year of consecutive growth, with $1.5 billion in sales in 2013. The company operates 19 retail stores. Looking ahead, the Maine-based company is planning to spend $100 million on website technology, business systems, merchandise assortments and new stores. It will be the biggest single-year capital investment in the retailer's 102-year history. L.L. Bean is also planning to expand its higher-end Signature apparel line and add 100 jobs to its staff of 5,100 full- and part-time workers.
L.L. Bean's popularity is rooted in the company's signature rubber-soled boots, which are made one pair at a time. While the harsh winter wreaked havoc throughout the United States and laid waste to many a retailer's fourth quarter, L.L. Bean said that boot production was at an all-time high. It sold 400,000 pairs last year, with orders in December alone totaling more than 130,000 pairs.
-See this Associated Press article
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