Founder Wilson resigns from Lululemon board

AP News
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Posted: Feb 02, 2015 1:52 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Chip Wilson, the founder of Lululemon Athletica Inc. who resigned as chairman last year after controversy about comments he made about customers' body types, has stepped down from the yoga clothing company's board.

Wilson established the Canadian company in 1998. It has grown to more than 250 stores and has a loyal customer base.

Lululemon has recently had its share of challenges. Last year the company dealt with complaints from customers that some of its yoga pants, which can cost around $100, were too sheer, making them see-through at times. Other problems included pilling, holes, and seams coming apart. Those problems were expensive to fix.

And Wilson upset some customers later in 2014 when he said some of the pants problems were related to customers' body types. Following that incident, he agreed to step down as chairman but had remained a board member.

Wilson had left Lululemon in 2012 to take a sabbatical in Australia. At the time he had served as chief innovation and branding officer. He was asked by the company's board to come back in the spring of 2013.

In mid-2014, Wilson pushed for changes to the company's board of directors, In August, Wilson reached a deal to sell about half of his shares in Lululemon to investment firm Advent International for $845 million in exchange for Advent receiving two seats on the board.

Wilson still owns about 10.3 million shares, or 7.8 percent, of Lululemon, according to FactSet, a stake worth more than $650 million at Monday's stock price.

Wilson said in a statement Monday that it was the right time to step down from the board. He plans to help his wife and son with their new business, Kit & Ace, which sells machine washable cashmere clothing and other apparel and acessories.

Lululemon's shares fell 91 cents to $65.33 in morning trading. The shares are up more than 40 percent over the past year.