Lululemon's product chief to leave in organizational shuffle

Wed Oct 21, 2015 5:54pm EDT
 
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VANCOUVER Oct 21 (Reuters) - Lululemon Athletica Inc said on Wednesday that its chief product officer is leaving after just two years with the premium yogawear retailer, which has struggled in recent months with narrowing margins and supply-chain hiccups.

Tara Poseley, a former Kmart executive who was hired by Lululemon in October 2013, will leave "after a transition period" and her role will be eliminated, the Vancouver-based company said.

Poseley replaced Sheree Waterson, who departed earlier that year amid a backlash over the high profile recall of overly sheer yoga pants and concerns about product quality.

Analysts had lofty expectations for Poseley, who joined up a couple months ahead of new chief executive Laurent Potvin, and shares in the yogawear maker, which plunged through the end of 2013, climbed back up in 2014.

But supply-chain woes, concerns over dwindling margins and another recall has pushed the stock back down in recent months.

Lululemon, which said the leadership changes are aimed at reinforcing its brand, also announced a new creative director role, geared at bringing the design of the men's and women's product lines under the same organizational umbrella.

Lee Holman, who joined Lululemon in 2014 from Nike, was named to the newly-created executive vice president, creative director post.

Chief Financial Officer Stuart Haselden will gain broader responsibilities, including heading up operations, and the company has also created a new, still unfilled, chief supply chain officer role.

Analysts last month questioned Lululemon's margins, which have dwindled as the company has faced higher costs associated with its international expansion.

The company has also been hit hard by a series of quality lapses, including the high profile recall of overly sheer yoga pants in 2013 and a more recent recall of women's tops due to injury risks from their drawstrings. (Reporting by Julie Gordon; Editing by Christian Plumb)