Outdoor retailer L.L. Bean has announced Shawn Gorman – great-grandson of the family business’s founder – as its new chairman, in the culmination of a leadership transition initiated by Gorman’s uncle Leon two years ago.
Gorman brings with him 20 years’ experience working in various parts of the US-based business – most recently serving as senior vice president of brand communication. His appointment was confirmed at the company’s annual shareholders’ and board of directors’ meeting held on May 17.
Gorman said he has had the opportunity to learn about the business from the ground up under the leadership of his uncle and chief executive Chris McCormick – who became the first non-family member appointed to the role when he took over from Leon in 2001.
McCormick said: “As with Leon’s transition from president and CEO 12 years ago, this has been a carefully planned succession process. It represents the family’s reaffirmation of their intentions to continue the business as a family-owned enterprise and their interest in beginning the transition of leadership to the next generation of family owners.”
Leon has been named chairman emeritus following 12 years in the role of chair, which he moved into after more than 30 years as president and chief executive of the business. Under his leadership the company grew from a $2.5 million (€1.9 million) mail-order retailer to a more than $1 billion business employing over 5,000 staff.
The company, founded by Leon Leonwood Bean in 1912, reported annual revenues of $1.521 billion for the fiscal year ended February 23 – marking a positive end to their centenary year.
Gorman said: “The next generation of family leaders is well prepared to steward the company through the next century with the same commitment to the outdoors, customer service, quality and core values that our customers, and all other stakeholders, have come to expect from L.L.Bean.”
Gorman also chairs the board of the John T. Gorman Foundation, a charitable organisation established by his late uncle, Tom. The foundation donates millions of dollars each year to community programmes and projects in Maine, where the family business was founded.