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Chip Wilson Incites Lululemon Shake-Up to Regain Control, But Why?

in Business of Yoga, YD News


There’s more trouble in lululand and founder Chip Wilson is the crouching tiger, hidden dragon poised to reel it back in. He’s not happy with how things are going (and, frankly, neither are shareholders) so he’s hired investment bank Goldman Sachs to strategize on how to reclaim control. The options are: make a deal with a private equity firm to buy out Lululemon, launch a proxy fight to gain more control of the board, or he might just sell his majority stake (27 percent of the company’s shares) and peace out, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Something tells us it won’t be the last one. This guy isn’t one to back down, whether anyone likes it or not. The reign of Chip is not over yet!

Yes, this is the same Chip Wilson who told women their fat thighs weren’t meant for Lulu pants right after the see-through pantscapade caused a major hiccup last year. The same Chip who subsequently gave the worst non-apology apology, who stepped down as CEO in 2005 and finally resigned as Chairman last year after having been responsible for the majority of marketing faux pas over the years (See also: Ayn Rand). The same Chip Wilson who pushes his Landmark Forum goal-setting agenda on the entire lulu corporate culture.

But it’s also the same Chip Wilson who founded Lululemon, and who still remains a commanding member of its board as well as its top shareholder. Asserting his authority, Wilson fought to get rid of two directors up for re-election earlier this month stating that they were too “heavily weighted towards short-term results at the expense of product, culture and brand and longer-term corporate goals.” The rest of the board voted for them to stay, along with new CEO Laurent Potdevin. In response, Wilson is calling for a shake-up of the board, looking to Goldman Sachs to help make it happen. Hardball, it is. Player’s gonna play.

Paradise lost? The fight is admirable, Chip, but if you want to save Lululemon, there are much bigger issues you’re facing when it comes to “product, culture and brand and longer-term corporate goals,” and we’d bet our thick, round womanly thighs you’re not the man for the job. But why would you want to be? Pride? Greed? Arrogance? Aren’t you tired of pushing your ideologies onto the yoga community? So far it hasn’t gone over too well. Besides, we thought you had a new vanity “cult following” project for that.  It’s not 2004 anymore. If investors think Chip grabbing the reigns again is the answer, they are sorely mistaken. The jig is up.

image via Financial Post



5 comments… add one
  • Twisted Yoga Sister

    I’m thinking LuLulemon has “jumped the shark”.

  • Agree 100 %. Cannot respect this man or his company.

  • PROC

    Chip is probably pissed that the board of directors has spent a bunch of money on a stock buy back program that only serves to boosts the profits per share on paper but does nothing to improve the actual running of the business. That giant pile of money could have been invested in operational efficiencies, research, or any number of things to aid the business but instead was used to artificially juice the numbers for the reporting of financials.

    • S.

      They artificially juiced what is considered “yoga” for years with fake ambassadors glamming up superficial yoga. Glad to see the rooster coming home to roost.

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