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Lululemon Founder Steps Down as Chairman Amid Controversy


Lululemon Athletica founder Chip Wilson has stepped down as chairman of his company.

Wilson’s controversial comments last month in an interview with Bloomberg TV caused an uproar that spread far beyond the yoga community. It didn't help his reputation when he followed up these remarks about how some women's large thighs were to blame for the company’s sheer, pilled-looking pants by releasing what many felt was a not-so-heartfelt apology.

Wilson, who spent five years with the company, announced his resignation to the board of directors on Tuesday. [Tweet the news!] His departure will take place before the company’s annual meeting in June 2014, leaving Michael Casey, lead director of the board, in charge.

“As a beloved, authentic brand, Lululemon has experienced strong growth over the years, and there is significant opportunity to further enhance our presence," Wilson said. “I am confident that the leadership structure in place is the right team to drive our next phase of growth.”

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Wilson and Lululemon press representatives declined to comment on the annoucement, but Lululemon as a whole is no stranger to public backlash.

In 2007, the company was caught claiming their clothes contained seaweed that would benefit the skin. Two years later, it was publicly scolded by the Vancouver Olympic Committee for selling limited-edition sweatshirts branded for the Olympics without any official involvement or support in the games. And this year, news about a handful of sheer yoga pants on the market spread like wildfire.

In addition to Wilson’s resignation, the board of directors announced that former Tom’s Shoes president Lauren Potdevin will step into the CEO role next month, succeeding Christine Day, who's been CEO since 2008.

While these changes will certainly shake up the company, we’re curious to see how much it affects the yoga and fitness community. What’s your take—will you still shop at the fitness powerhouse? Sound off on Twitter and Facebook.


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