Lauren Hobart will take Ed Stack's place as CEO of the sporting goods store.

(CNN) — Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Ed Stack is stepping down after 36 years, a tenure in which he transformed his family’s small business into a national presence, took the company public, and enacted a strong stance on the US gun debate.

Stack, 65 years old, will take on the role of executive chairman and continue as a chief merchant, the company announced Tuesday. Dick’s President Lauren Hobart will ascend to the CEO role on February 1, becoming the company’s first female chief executive.

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Stack’s father founded the company in 1948, and Stack has served as chairman and CEO of Dick’s since 1984 when he and his siblings bought his father’s two small sporting goods stores in upstate New York. Under Stack’s leadership, the company now has more than 850 stores and nearly $9 billion in annual revenue.

Dick’s became part of the US debate over guns when Stack took a bold stance after 17 people were killed in a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, in 2018.

Shortly after the shooting, Dick’s announced it would stop selling semi-automatic, assault-style rifles as well as high-capacity magazines that hold several bullets for semi-automatic weapons. The company also stopped selling weapons to customers under 21.

Stack, a gun owner who believes in the Second Amendment, said he decided to make the changes after he learned the teen charged with the shooting had bought a shotgun at a Dick’s store, though that gun wasn’t used in the attack. Dick’s had sold guns since long before Stack started working there in 1977.

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Now he will pass the reins to Hobart. “She has proven herself to be a capable, innovative and respected leader who has helped drive our business and our culture,” Stack said in a press release.

Hobart will inherit the company in a strong position: Even during the pandemic, Dick’s stock is up nearly 19% from this time last year. “There has been a greater shift toward athletic apparel and active lifestyle [products] with people spending more time working and exercising at home,” Stack said on a call with analysts in August.

Dick’s reported solid earnings Tuesday, with sales at stores open for at least one year growing 23.2% last quarter.

The company announced earlier this year that it will close its stores on Thanksgiving Day.

Correction: Ed Stack is a gun owner, but does not hunt. A previous version of this story misidentified Stack as a hunter.

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