Chip Wilson Takes on Lululemon Board

Lululemon | BCBusiness
Lululemon’s awkward board battle comes as the brand expands into international markets, including its new flagship in London, U.K. (pictured).

Founder Chip Wilson left with little to show for after contesting board appointments at the company’s tense annual general meeting

Lululemon founder Chip Wilson failed to convince investors Wednesday to fire board members Michael Casey and RoAnn Costin. Their reappointment was confirmed at the shareholders’ meeting at the Shangri-la Hotel in Vancouver following a vote at the Annual General Meeting.
Wednesday morning, just prior to the investors’ meeting, Wilson released a statement saying that he would use his 27 per cent share to vote against their reappointment.
“I am concerned that the Board is not aligned with the core values of product and innovation on which Lululemon was founded and on which the company thrived,” said Wilson in a statement yesterday, adding that the board is too focused on short-term growth rather than nurturing the strength of the brand.
This comes following a tumultuous year for the company, which had to recall 17 per cent of its yoga pants due to their tendency to become transparent. The blunder has had its effect on the stock price – it has fallen by nearly half since the second quarter of 2013.
“We’re all very focused, and hard at work,” CEO Laurent Potdevin assured investors at the meeting on Wednesday, his first meeting as CEO. No one from Lululemon was made available for an interview, and Wilson left his company’s meeting after the vote.
The board did issue a statement in response to Wilson’s, arguing that, “[c]ontrary to Mr. Wilson’s assertions, Lululemon’s Board members are aligned with the Company’s core values and possess the necessary expertise to successfully lead Lululemon forward.”
Responding to an investor question regarding the possibility of an outside takeover, Chairman of the Board Michael Casey denied any truth to the rumours.
“I can clearly state that we haven’t received any overtures from other companies,” he told investors.
Wilson recently returned to the beleaguered athletics company from Australia to oversee the recovery from the recall. He remains the company’s largest shareholder and the most recognizable face of Lululemon, after resigning as chairman when he dew sneers for his statement that “quite frankly some women’s bodies just actually don’t work” for the yoga pants popularized by his company. He later apologized in a YouTube video