Lululemon Co-Founder Chip Wilson Steps Down Amid Controversy Over Comments

Lululemon Yoga Pants

Chip Wilson, co-founder of popular yoga pants brand lululemon, has stepped down as chairman of the company’s board of directors—according to a release from lululemon—as sales sagged amid negative comments Wilson made about women’s body types.

Wilson will be succeeded by Michael Casey as chairman of the board. Chip Wilson will retain a spot on the lululemon athletica board and is expected to step down from the chair position in advance of lululemon’s annual meeting in June, 2014.

In addition to the Chip Wilson news, lululemon athletica announced a new chief executive officer in Laurent Potdevin, former president of TOMS Shoes. Potdevin takes over for current lululemon CEO Christine Day, who already announced her intention to retire after six years with lululemon.

“I am excited and honored to be joining lululemon,” Potdevin said in the release. “It is an exceptional brand with an extraordinary team that creates technical, beautiful products, and builds authentic consumer experiences.”

Chip Wilson also commented on his enthusiasm for Potdevin in the CEO role and said his leadership skills will help the company in the future.

“lululemon’s success has always been and will continue to be my highest priority. I am delighted that Laurent will be joining lululemon and believe his talents and experience ideally complement our existing management team,” Wilson said.

“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.”

lululemon came under fire when Chip Wilson, in response to quality concerns about a batch of black luon yoga pants that “had an unacceptable level of sheerness,” said “some women’s bodies just don’t actually work” with lululemon’s products. The pants ended up being recalled, and Chip has since apologized in a video released on YouTube and on the company’s Facebook page.

Chip Wilson has been the largest individual shareholder of lululemon athletica since founding the Canadian apparel company in 1998.

What do you think of Chip Wilson stepping down from the chair position at lululemon? What do you think about Chip Wilson’s apology regarding his comments about women’s body types?