101115_skokie_exteriorOutdoors retailer LL Bean will hire a CEO from outside the company in its 103 year History. Chairman Shawn Gorman made the declaration to workers in an update, letting them know the L.L. Bean family and board unanimously consented to hire Stephen Smith from Chinese online food merchant Yihaodian as its new CEO.

“Hiring a CEO who epitomizes the values of Bean was a top need for the family and the Board, and I am sure we have done just that,” Gorman advised workers in the memo. Smith will assume control in January, supplanting Chris McCormick, who has served as CEO for 14 years. McCormick, who a year ago declared his plans to retire, was the first individual outside the Bean family to serve as president and CEO. On the other hand, he’d worked at L.L. Bean for over 10 years before being tapped to lead the organization. He assumed control from L.L. Bean’s grandson Leon Gorman, who held the title “Chairman emeritus” when he deceased in September.

A year ago, Gorman said the retailer would search for a descendant both inside and outside the organization, however he said his inclination was to advance somebody from inside L.L. Bean who is acquainted with organization culture and “the Bean way of doing things.” But the organization was fascinated by both Smith’s comprehension of L.L. Bean’s culture and his experience in multi-channel retailing. Before going to work for Yihaodian in Shanghai Smith had sworked for grocery stores like  Delhaize and Wal-Mart, Smith . Prior to that, he worked for the Resort Sports Network and the Hannaford grocery store chain in Masine.

Leon Gorman met Smith before his passing and gave his endorsement, said Shawn Gorman. “Leon is one of the best judges of character that I know,” Gorman said. “Leaving that meeting with Steve, Leon’s words were, ‘Steve’s the real deal.’ That conveys immensely. Leon is an intense fellow. So to hear that it’s consoling.” Smith said he has confidence in the organization’s customer first philosophy and brings an imperative adoration for the outside, having grown up angling, skiing, snowboarding, paddling and kayaking

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