Chip Wilson is out, Laurent Potdevin is in at Lululemon.
Potdevin, who most recently served as president of TOMS shoes, has been named as the company’s new chief executive officer – filling a position previously held by Christine Day, who announced she was stepping down in June.
“I am excited and honoured to be joining Lululemon,” said Potdevin in a company statement early Tuesday.
Wilson will also resign from his role as non-executive chairmain of the Vancouver-based company, a month after he sparked a firestorm of controversy when he suggested women’s bodies were to blame for sheer and piling problems with its pants.
He later offered a half-hearted video apology for his remarks on Nov. 8, taking responsibility for the “impact” of his words, saying he was “sad for the repercussions of [his] actions.”
Replacing Wilson as chairman will be Michael Casey, the company’s current lead director of the board. Casey is expected to assume Wilson’s role within the next six months, before the company’s annual meeting in June 2014.
In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Casey made an effort to distance the company’s new leadership from remarks Wilson made about women’s bodies.
“I don’t think the company would have made the same statements that Chip did, but Chip was speaking for himself,” Casey said.
As of Tuesday, over 19,000 people have signed a petition calling on Wilson to "stop shaming women's bodies: apologize and make clothes for women of all sizes."
Earlier this year, the company lost millions after it pulled its “too sheer” pants from store shelves after customers complained. The problem was later blamed on production issues.
A class-action lawsuit was also lodged against Lululemon, alleging the company inflated the value of its stock by failing to disclose quality defects in its Luon yoga pants.
The claims have yet to be proven in court.
Wilson founded the high-end yogawear company in 1998 after an "exhilarating" yoga class. Lululemon opened its first store in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood in 2000.
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