FREEPORT — Outdoor retailer L.L.Bean announced Tuesday that it has named Stephen Smith president and chief executive officer.

Smith replaces Chris McCormick, who has served as president and CEO since 2001 and is retiring in February, according to a release issued by the retailer.

Smith will be the fourth president in the company’s history and the first from outside the company. He has executive experience with companies in the U.S. and abroad, including China where he served in executive roles for Wal-Mart International.

“We are very pleased with the selection of Steve Smith as our next president,” Shawn Gorman, chairman of the L.L. Bean board of directors, said in a prepared statement.

“Hiring a CEO who embodies the values of Bean was a top priority for the family and the board, and I am confident we have done just that,” Gorman said. “He has a deep understanding of and appreciation for customer needs, and multi-channel retailing, which is well-aligned with our approach here at L.L.Bean.”

Smith began his career in New York but moved to Maine in the late 1990s when he joined Resort Sports Network where he rose to vice president of sales and marketing.

Later, he moved to Hannaford Supermarkets as director of marketing. Since then, he has held several executive-level roles at both U.S. and internationally based retailers, including Sweetbay Supermarkets and Delhaize Le Lion (sister companies of Hannaford) in Florida and Belgium, and Wal-Mart International subsidiaries, including Sam’s Club in China, ASDA in the United Kingdom, andYihaodian, a pure e-commerce business in Shanghai, according to the news release.

“I welcome the opportunity to lead one of the world’s best brands, known for quality products and outstanding customer service,” Smith said in a prepared statement. “L.L.Bean is a company I have long admired, both as a customer and as a retailer. I also am looking forward to returning to Maine where my family has deep ties and where we can embrace our love of the outdoors.”

Smith will join the company in early January.

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