Former Toms president steps into CEO role at Lululemon

Lululemon has named former Toms president Laurent Potdevin as the company’s CEO and elected him to its board of directors. Potdevin succeeds Christine Day, who has served as the company’s CEO since 2008 and announced her intention to resign in June 2013.

Potdevin will become a director when he assumes his duties as CEO in January 2014. Day is expected to remain with Lululemon through the end of the company’s fiscal year to ensure a smooth transition.

The company also announced that Lululemon’s founder and chairman of the board Chip Wilson is stepping down as non-executive chairman prior to the company’s annual meeting in June 2014. The board has selected Michael Casey, lead director of the board of directors, to take Wilson’s place. Wilson will retain a seat on the board of directors.

“After a thorough search, Laurent emerged as the natural choice to lead our continued growth and global expansion,” said Casey. “We believe Lululemon will benefit from Laurent’s leadership experience and proven track record of success in building global brands. 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. Additionally, his deep understanding of the importance of top-quality technical design, retail marketing strategies and the power of building a strong brand provides him with the tools we believe are necessary to lead our next exciting phase of growth. The board has full confidence in Laurent and we are all thrilled to welcome him to the Lululemon family.”

“I am excited and honored to be joining Lululemon,” said Potdevin. "It is an exceptional brand with an extraordinary team that creates beautiful technical 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 comes to Lululemon having most recently served as president of Toms Shoes, a giving company founded on the mission that it would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. While at Toms, he is credited with building a world-class management team, leading global expansion and broadening the company’s strong cultural identity. Prior to Toms, Potdevin held numerous positions at Burton Snowboards for more than 15 years, including president and CEO from 2005 to 2010. Potdevin began his career in 1991 at LVMH. He received a master’s degree in engineering from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, and his MBA from École Supérieure des Sciences Économiques et Commerciales, Paris, France.

“As we embark on this next stage of growth, we recognize the efforts and accomplishments of those whose work has created the Lululemon that we know today. Christine Day has been instrumental in the growth and development of this brand, and she leaves in place one of the strongest business models in the retail industry,” added Casey. “On behalf of the board and our employees, I would like to thank Christine for her outstanding leadership during the past six years, and her commitment to ensuring an orderly transition as Laurent succeeds her. We also wish to acknowledge the many contributions of our founder, Chip Wilson, whose vision for the business and passion for creating beautiful technical products remain the foundation of the company today.”  

“Lululemon’s success has always been and will continue to be my highest priority. I am delighted that Laurent will be joining [the company] and believe his talents and experience ideally complement our existing management team. I know he will have a strong impact on the business as he has the vision and leadership capabilities necessary to create and direct its future,” said Wilson. “As Laurent joins as CEO, I believe that now is the right time for me to begin to transition out of my role as chairman of the board.”

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