Monday, February 5, 2018

Potdevin Out!

News was released after hours today that Laurent Potdevin has resigned as CEO of lululemon. Press releases and articles were pretty spare on reasons why except "Mr. Potdevin fell short of... standards of misconduct." A NY Times article stated, "Lululemon declined to say whether sexual misconduct was behind Mr. Potdevin’s resignation." Given the current cultural climate and other recent executive resignations my guess is that was the root of the resignation. I assume we'll find out more soon enough.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

whoa! holy guacamole!

Tanya said...

Good riddance! I hope whoever takes over brings the focus back on fabric quality. I haven't kept anything I bought since 2014, when the quality tanked. I still wear clothes I got over 5 years ago and they still look new.

Anonymous said...

I saw the breaking news when I was on Twitter yesterday. I'm rarely on there at the time of breaking news. Totally thought it would be a sales targets/performance thing as the reason he was stepping down. However, it seems as though he is guilty of inappropriate behaviour,"Times Up" and it wouldn't surprise me if he is also a bully. The "range of instances" definitely leaves it open to interpretation.

The silence on exactly what - part of settlement agreements? I am surprised he still gets to leave with $5 million. The days of those golden parachutes should have been over by the time he signed his CEO contract when he joined.

"It wasn’t immediately clear how the 50-year-old had fallen short of the company’s standards. There were “a range of instances” where his actions didn’t align with company policy on leadership and conduct, according to a person familiar with the matter. There have been no legal settlements or criminal charges related to the alleged behavior, the person said."

Anonymous said...

oh wow, that seems so sudden. When Chip Wilson started Kit and Ace I always thought we was trying to pull a Steve jobs and be bought by lululemon so he could be CEO again. I wonder if he will try to use this situation to that end.

Rise and Shine said...

Wow! I definitely didn't see that coming, although, per the NYT, "The company said Mr. Potdevin, 50, had failed to “exemplify the highest levels of integrity and respect for one another,” sounds consistent with the way many of us felt the company changed under his leadership.

Turning its back on the loyal fan base to chase quick bucks with cheap products, high prices, and crass commercialism has been the recent mantra at LLL, but lately, it seemed as though the pendulum might have been swinging back.

So was it sexual harassment or some other form of misconduct? I think we'll never know.

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 3:45 am - I've seen it speculated that the $5M payout is for him to agree to leave quickly and quietlt without a costly public court battle so I would assume it's some hazy situation where blame isn't clear cut.

@Rise and Shine - totally agree with him turning his back on the loyal fan base comment. I think he did decent work in tightening up the behind the scenes inefficiencies (but god knows what is with the effing IT team and the inability to construct a decent website) but I didn't like how he and Holman tried to shove their monochromatic blah vision down our throats, cheapened a lot of the fabrics/designs, only offer a few technical fabrics now, and sell WAY TOO MUCH through the outlets. I'm glad to see a return to color and floral prints now, and I hope they start making more robust fabrics, particularly in the men's line. They also need to pare the offerings down a bit - way too much ends up in the outlets.

Anonymous said...

Just published around 9 p.m. ET

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/06/lululemon-ceo-laurent-potdevin-had-inappropriate-employee-relationship.html

LuluAddict said...

It seems like it was a relationship gone sour thing: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/06/lululemon-ceo-laurent-potdevin-had-inappropriate-employee-relationship.html It looks like it got sticky so I assume lululemon decided to cut their losses and pay Potdevin to go away quickly and quietly.

I believe the woman in question was profiled here (https://www.pressreader.com/canada/canadian-running/20171015/282149291522405) and has been all over Potdevin's instagram so it's not exactly a secret who this is. Since she came from the Lab I going to assume her designs are black, blah, and ugly so if the company's recent turn back to colorful and cute floral prints and more overall color is due to her absence, I say it wasn't a bad thing they didn't renew her contract.

Rise and Shine said...

With the additional info, I'm even more glad to see him go. It sounds as though he was fostering a toxic culture - again, not a surprise to those of us on the outside, but who watch the company closely - and as a shareholder, I'm glad to see the Board take decisive action.

Hopefully, his replacement will come with strong business acumen and a sense of decency. And, please, Board, no more ex-Nike people. That has not proven to be a good cultural fit. And just in case it needs to be said, DON'T LET HOLMAN BACK IN!!!