Chip Wilson, the founder of Lululemon and the guy responsible for the series of recent gaffes — fat thighs, etc. — is stepping down as chairman of the yoga clothes company, the company announced Tuesday.
In I’m sure totally related news, no one today was surprised by this.
The company also has appointed a new CEO. Laurent Potdevin takes over for Christine Davis, who announced her plans to leave in June — before Wilson’s latest stuff but after the initial Lululemon-gate — that being the too sheer pants fiasco.
According to reports, Potdevin comes from Toms Shoes, where he served as president. And before that he was at Burton Snowboards, including a stint as CEO from 2005 to 2010.
On top of all this, if you haven’t seen the little bits of news here and there, there does seem to be a growing push-back against the company by former “Ambassadors” — those yoga teachers who get free Lululemon schwag — who are renouncing their ties to the company over its “non yogic business practices.”
As far as I can tell, these un-Ambassadors’ reasons range from the legit — not being comfortable with the Randian philosophy of the company as well as the public actions of Wilson — to the fairly silly — thinking that a company won’t put profits ahead of everything else, or at least on equal standing as “civic good.”
It is a business, after all.
Now, we can watch and see how that business does under new leadership. Drawing someone in from Toms seems to make sense: Similar core customers, similar “do good” image that has taken hits on and off.
Posted by Steve