Lululemon Founder Resigns

Lululemon founder and chief visionary Chip Wilson resigns while the company's stock soars to an all-time high.

Photo by The Globe and Mail

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Lululemon founder Chip Wilson will step down as the company's chief innovation and branding officer effective Jan. 29, according to a press release. Wilson will continue to serve as chairman of the board of directors.

"I remain deeply committed to the company's continued success and given the strength we've built into the organization over the past three years, I feel comfortable leaving the company with Christine Day at the helm of a world class management team whom I fully believe will continue to elevate our world, " Wilson said. Day, a former Starbucks executive, was named CEO of the year by The Globe and Mail Business Magazine in late 2011.

No reason was given for the decision, but the announcement comes after widespread backlash following a controversial decision to put the Ayn Rand slogan "I am John Galt" on Lululemon shopping bags last November.

Wilson, who started off creating a surf, skateboard, and snowboard clothing company, founded Lululemon in 1998 and headed its rise to become the fastest growing yoga-lifestyle retailer in the world, with 151 stores in North America, Asia, and Australia.

Recognized as one of Canada's wealthiest citizens, Wilson, who made Forbes' 2011 World's billionaire's list, owns about 10 percent of Lululemon Athletica stock, according to The Globe and Mail. That stock hit an all-time high yesterday after the company reported strong holiday sales, contributing to an increase of roughly 80 percent over the past year, CBCNews reported.