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L.L. Bean CEO announces decision to quit in 2016

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After 13 years as CEO, Chris McCormick, has announced his intention to leave L.L. Bean.

The first non-family member to lead L.L. Bean is to step down in 2016 after more than a decade as CEO.

Chris McCormick gave early notice of his decision to step down as head of the Maine-based retailer to ensure a smooth transition. During his time at the helm, McCormick has helped transform the 102-year outdoor retailer from a catalogue company into a multi-channel operator.

McCormick has been with L.L. Bean for 31 years, including 13 as President and CEO. He succeeded Leon Gorman, grandson of the founder L.L. Bean, and has overseen four straight years of growth.

In a memo to employees, McCormick said: “In our time together we weathered the dramatic business impacts following the tragic events associated with 9/11. We also managed our way through, and even prospered – though with some sacrifices – during the deepest recession in more than half a century. The company has grown, is financially strong and debt free.”

With more than $1.5 billion in sales last year, L.L. Bean is set for more growth and announced in March that it is investing an additional $100 million into its website, retail expansion and business systems.

McCormick says he is not sure what he will do when he leaves L.L.Bean, but retirement is not an option. “There are other markets out there – and other people to meet.”

The current chairman, Shawn Gorman, Bean’s great-grandson, said that the company will look at future business needs and long-term financial goals before selecting McCormick’s successor.

The company will look from both inside and outside the organisation, although Gorman said his preference is to promote someone from within L.L. Bean who is familiar with the company culture.

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