Yoga apparel retailer Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) (TSE:LLL) announced Tuesday that its founder Chip Wilson is stepping down as chairman of the company. He plans to resign before Lululemon Athletica’s next annual meeting in June. He will be replaced by lead director Michael Casey. Wilson will remain a board member even after resignation, reports the Associated Press.
Lululemon’s new CEO to take charge in January
Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) (TSE:LLL) also announced the appointment of Lauren Potdevin as its next CEO. The company had been looking for a chief executive since June 10 when the current CEO Christine Day announced that she would step down once her replacement was found. Potdevin is expected to take charge in January. Day is credited for the stupendous growth of the company. Under her tenure, Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) (TSE:LLL)’s revenue rose from $270 million to $1.4 billion, and its stock has surged more than 380% in the same period. Christine Day was named the chief executive of the company in June 2008. Laurent Potdevin has been the president of Toms Shoes. He has earlier worked at Burton Snowboards for more than 15 years in different positions including as CEO.
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But a series of customer complaints, criticism and PR snafus have hurt the company’s credibility, profits and stock. Customers have complained about the sheerness of its yoga pants that led to a product recall last spring. It cost the company tens of millions of dollars. Customers have also complained about holes and pilling only after a few weeks of wear. In July, the company faced another blow with a U.S. lawsuit. The litigation alleged that Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) (TSE:LLL) hid defects in its yoga apparel from shareholders, and concealed developments that caused the sudden resignation of its chief executive.
Last month, Chip Wilson raised ire when he said that some women’s bodies were just not right for his company’s pants. Though Wilson apologized later, but his comments did damage the company’s reputation. Chip Wilson founded Lululemon Athletica Inc (NASDAQ:LULU) (TSE:LLL) in 1998, and still holds 8.84% stake in the company, according to Reuters.
Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) (TSE:LLL) shares rose 0.10% to $70.40 at 11:09 AM EST.