FREEPORT, Maine — The first non-family member to lead L.L. Bean is planning to step down in 2016 after more than a decade as CEO. Chris McCormick, president and chief executive, told employees he’s giving early notice so there can be a smooth transition.
He helped to transform the 102-year-old retailer from a catalog company into a multi-channel retailer that does most of its business online. He also sped up the opening of retail stores, with 19 in operation and plans to open three more this year.
The privately held company is coming off its fourth consecutive year of growth.
McCormick has been with L.L. Bean for 31 years, including 13 as president and CEO. He succeeded Leon Gorman, grandson of founder L.L. Bean. The current chairman is Bean’s great-grandson Shawn Gorman. He said the company will look at future business needs and long-term financial goals before zeroing in on someone to be CEO. Gorman said his preference is to promote someone from within L.L. Bean.