Lululemon CEO resigns after conduct 'fell short' of company standards

Lululemon Athletica Inc's CEO Laurent Potdevin has resigned effective immediately after exhibiting behaviour that fell short of the company's standards of conduct, such as exemplifying integrity and respect for one another.

lululemon said that a search for a "proven and highly-experienced" global CEO has commenced, the press statement read. According to Glenn Murphy, executive chairman of the board, culture is at the core of lululemon and it is the "responsibility of leaders to set the right tone in the organisation". Protecting the organisation’s culture is one of the board’s most important duties, he added.

According to CNBC's sources, one of the reasons for Potdevin's departure was his "multi-year relationship" with one of lululemon's female designers. Although the employee resigned in 2014 after the relationship commenced, she returned to lululemon and worked on "discrete company projects" as a contractor. Also, former employees said Potdevin had a negative impact on lululemon's culture. He had been with lululemon for more than four years, and was president of TOMS for over two years, according to his LinkedIn. Prior to that, he was CEO of Burton Snowboards for more than 15 years.

Following Potdevin's departure, Murphy will take on additional duties focusing on achieving long-term, sustainable results for all stakeholders. Three of lululemon’s senior leaders - COO Stuart Haselden, senior VP of merchandising Sun Choe and executive VP, Americas Celeste Burgoyne - will also take on extra responsibilities.

Marketing has reached out to lululemon for additional comments.

Closer to home, a lululemon ad made its rounds online last year, surprising netizens for selling a pair of shorts which supposedly cost SG$480. However, the brand was later clarified by another netizen that the price was stated in Hong Kong dollars, not Singapore dollars. This followed with a request for the correct link to the Singapore site.