lululemon Founder Voted Against Re-Election of Outside Directors
Lululemon athletica inc. Founder Chip Wilson announced that he voted against the re-election of Michael Casey and RoAnn Costin to the Board of lululemon athletica inc. Mr. Wilson, who founded the company in 1998, has carried it through many business cycles as he expanded it from a small storefront in Vancouver to an international brand with over 250 stores. At lululemon Mr. Wilson has created a corporate culture that empowers employees and has pushed technical apparel beyond workout clothes to an everyday staple.
Mr. Wilson stated, "After being asked by the Board to come back from Australia to help the company recover from the product recall last year, I have decided to vote against the re-election of the company's outside Board members. While I am excited about the new management team that I helped put in place, I am concerned that the Board is not aligned with the core values of product and innovation on which lululemon was founded and on which the company thrived. As a 27% shareholder in the company, I believe change is now needed at the Board level to increase shareholder value."
Mr. Wilson, who had been living in Australia, was asked by the company to return and deal with a quality control issue that resulted in a product recall last year. He has worked tirelessly to focus the company's efforts on product and innovation, and has overseen a shakeup in management that has resulted in a new CEO and a new head of product quality.
Mr. Wilson continued, "I was hopeful that we would be able to create a balance at lululemon between product and growth that would complement each other. Instead, I have found a palpable imbalance in Board representation, which is heavily weighted towards short-term results at the expense of product, culture and brand and longer-term corporate goals. I believe this is impacting the company's prospects. My vote today sends a signal to the financial community that the company must address this imbalance if lululemon is to fully recover."
Michael Casey, a former Starbucks executive, recently rose to Chairman of the Board from Lead Director after Mr. Wilson announced his resignation as Chairman to focus on other ventures including Whil, Imagine1Day, and the Chip and Shannon Wilson School of Design at Kwantlen University. RoAnn Costin is President of a Private Boston-based equity company that focuses on investing in early and expansion-stage consumer product and retailing companies.