The company's new leader returns to Maine after years of holding executive positions for domestic and international retailers
L.L.Bean has ended nearly a year of searching for its fourth president and CEO, announcing this week that Stephen Smith with be the company’s next leader.
Smith replaces Chris McCormick, who retires at the end of this year after leading the company since 2001.
Smith moved to Maine in 1990 to work for Resort Sports Network, where he eventually became vice president of sales and marketing, according to a press release issued by L.L.Bean. He has held many executive roles at domestic and international retailers, including Sweetbay Supermarkets and Delhaize Le Lion in Florida and Belgium, and Walmart International subsidiaries including Sam’s Club in China, ASDA in the United Kingdom and e-commerce business Yihaodian, based in Shanghai.
L.L.Bean’s board was most impressed by Smith’s collaborative business approach and his dedication to customers, according to a letter Chairman of the Board Shawn Gorman wrote to company employees.
“Steve has long admired the way L.L.Bean does business – and the fierce brand loyalty shared by customers and employees alike,” Gorman wrote.
Smith wrote to employees that he is looking forward to returning to Maine, where his daughters were born and where he was able to connect his work with his love for the outdoors during his career there.
“L.L.Bean sets the bar for the industry, and I have long looked to it as a model for how to do business the right way in terms of building long-term customer loyalty, developing outstanding products and standing behind them, and promoting company values,” Smith wrote.
Smith will join L.L.Bean Jan. 4.