Lululemon founder to leave board, keep stake in yogawear chain

Mon Feb 2, 2015 1:25pm EST
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By Solarina Ho

(Reuters) - Lululemon Athletica Inc (LULU.O: Quote) founder Chip Wilson said on Monday he is quitting the board of directors of the yogawear retailer, hit nearly two years ago by a major recall, because the company was back on track with a strong management team.

Wilson, a sometimes controversial figure who helped build the Canadian company into an international success story, said the move will also allow him to focus on Kit and Ace, a casual wear company that his wife and son launched last year.

A spokesman for Wilson said he has no immediate plans to trim his 13.75 percent stake in the company.

"I now believe the company has returned to the core values that made it great," he said in a statement.

Kit and Ace plans to open at least 100 stores across North America by 2019.

Lululemon's stock has surged some 75 percent since its June low after boardroom battles and disappointing results. On Monday it was down 1.3 percent at $65.40.

"We believe Mr. Wilson's departure solidifies stability of the leadership team going forward, and lessens tension behind decision making and voting power," Stifel equity analyst Jim Duffy said in a research note.

Wilson, who founded Lululemon in 1998, withdrew from day-to-day management in early 2012, and said in December 2013 he was stepping down as chairman. He stayed on as a director.   Continued...

People walk past a store of yogawear retailer Lululemon Athletica in downtown Vancouver, in this file photo taken June 11, 2014.  REUTERS/Ben Nelms/Files