"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Leon Gorman

This 2014 oil on paper portrait of Leon Gorman (1934-2015) by Jon R. Friedman hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
During his thirty-four years as president of L. L. Bean, Leon Gorman dramatically expanded and modernized the clothing and outdoor equipment business that his grandfather established in 1912. Shepherding the company through a succession of state-of-the-art innovations, he transferred its catalogue mailing list to a computerized database in the 1970s, introduced a toll-free number for shopping by phone in 1985, and launched internet sales in 1995. Yet even while transforming L. L. Bean into a tech-savvy, billion-dollar enterprise, Gorman adhered to the 100 percent customer satisfaction policy that had guided his grandfather's development of the now-iconic rubber-soled boot, In Gorman's view, “Customer service is just a day-in, day-out, ongoing, never-ending, unremitting, persevering, compassionate type of activity.” Gorman was equally dedicated to preserving the forests and lakes where he fly-fished and hiked with his dogs. The National Park Foundation and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy are among several environmental groups that have benefited from his support. -- NPG

Leon Gorman's grandfather Leon Leonwood Bean invented the “Maine Hunting Shoe” in 1911 and sold them mail-order with a 100% money-back guarantee. This image of Maine Hunting Shoes appears on the cover of  Gorman's 2006 book, L. L. Bean: The Making of an American Icon. 

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