UPDATE 1-Lululemon names new CEO; founder Chip Wilson to step down

Reuters

(Corrects name to "Laurent" from "Lauren" in paragraph 1)

By Ashutosh Pandey

Dec 10 (Reuters) - Yoga-wear retailer Lululemon AthleticaInc, reeling from an embarrassing recall of see-throughpants, named Laurent Potdevin as chief executive and saidfounder Chip Wilson would step down as non-executive chairman.

Potdevin replaces Christine Day, who said in June that shewould leave the company once a replacement was found.

Day was behind Lulu's blistering growth and its transitionfrom a niche player to a major retailing force.

Day surprised investors with her decision to quit, whichfollowed the March recall of the see-through black pants. Therecall also led to the departure of its chief product officer.

Lululemon was hit with a U.S. lawsuit in July that accusedit of defrauding shareholders by hiding defects in the pants andconcealing talks that led to the sudden departure of Day.

The company, due to announce third-quarter results onThursday, trimmed its forecast for full-year sales and profit inSeptember.

Lululemon's shares, which have fallen about 15 percent sinceDay announced her intention to quit, were up 1.6 percent beforethe bell on Tuesday.

Potdevin, who takes over in January, was most recentlypresident at retailer TOMS Shoes, which is known for matchingevery pair of shoes sold with a pair given to poor children.

Prior to TOMS, he was CEO of Burton Snowboards.

Potdevin's immediate challenge will be to deal with thesupply chain problems that caused the multimillion-dollarrecall. He will also need a strategy to fend off risingcompetition from retailers including Under Armour Inc,Nike Inc and Gap Inc and its Athleta line.

WILSON STEPS DOWN

Wilson, who founded Lululemon in 1998 and owns about 9percent of the company, will step down as non-executive chairmanprior to the company's annual meeting in June. Wilson willretain a seat on the board.

Michael Casey, a former Starbucks executive andlead director of Lululemon's board for the past six years, willtake over as chairman.

Wilson is known to court controversy. He caused a furor lastmonth when he said Lululemon products were wrong for certainbody shapes.

In the past, Wilson said he chose the name "Lululemon"because L is not in the Japanese vocabulary. "It's funny towatch them try to say it," he said in a 2004 profile in theNational Post Business magazine.

Lululemon shares closed at $70.34 on Monday on the Nasdaq. (Reporting by Rohit T. K. and Chris Peters in Bangalore;Editing by Supriya Kurane and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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