Lululemon Appoints New CEO and New Chair

Laurent Potdevin, Lululemon | BCBusiness
Lululemon announced Laurent Potdevin (above) as its new CEO, taking over for Christine Day.

Chip Wilson resigns from chair of the board of directors and the company names its new leader

The new year is bringing some big changes for Lululemon Athletica Inc.—namely a new CEO and a board of directors with a conspicuously new chair. The company announced today that Laurent Potdevin will succeed Christine Day as the company’s new CEO and that its founder, Chip Wilson, has stepped down from his position as chair of the board of directors. Wilson’s resignation will be effective prior to Lululemon’s annual meeting in June 2014. Michael Casey, the lead of the board of directors, will take over Wilson’s role as chair. Wilson will retain a seat on the board.

Wilson made many international headlines after his controversial comments about Lululemon’s see-through pants debacle, suggesting that it might be the women’s fault: “It’s really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time and how much they use it,” he told Bloomberg’s Trish Regan in a video interview. Following the comment, Wilson was lambasted in the press, including a particularly scathing segment on The Colbert Report.

Having held the CEO position since 2008, Day announced her resignation intention in June 2013, and the company has spent the interim searching for a replacement. Potdevin comes from the retail world, and was most recently the president of Toms Shoes. “We believe Lululemon will benefit from Laurent’s leadership experience and proven track record of success in building global brands,” said Casey in a release. “He has more than two decades of experience at premium, technical athletic apparel, and lifestyle-centric retail companies, and his shared passion for driving innovative, community-focused brands makes him an excellent cultural fit for Lululemon.”

Before joining Toms, Potdevin worked at Burton Snowboards for more than 15 years, holding the position of president and CEO from 2005 to 2010.

“I am excited and honored to be joining Lululemon,” said Potdevin. “It is an exceptional brand with an extraordinary team that creates technical, beautiful products, and builds authentic consumer experiences. The tremendous success of this company to date and the potential for future growth are both exciting and inspiring. I look forward to working with everyone at Lululemon to continue to build and drive the brand forward.”

Potdevin’s role as CEO—and subsequently as a director—will be effective in January 2014. Day will remain with Lululemon until the end of the company’s fiscal year.