Marketing Changes at Lululemon as CEO Exits

By Published on .

A scene from a recent Lululemon ad campaign.
A scene from a recent Lululemon ad campaign. Credit: Lululemon

On the same day that Lululemon Athletica announced the sudden exit of CEO Laurent Potdevin over a failure to meet company standards, it appointed a new leader for its marketing.

The Vancouver-based company on Monday named Celeste Burgoyne, executive VP for the Americas, to handle brand marketing. She assumes duties that had been handled by Duke Stump, a three-year veteran responsible for campaigns such as "This Is Yoga" who left in September.

On the marketing team, Burgoyne joins Brand Creative Director Remi Paringaux, a former print magazine art director, and Senior VP of Brand Fred Uribe. Both joined last year. Burgoyne has been with Lululemon since 2006.

While Lululemon has a new brand marketing team in place, the company is short one CEO. When the company announced Potdevin's departure, it said it "expects all employees to exemplify the highest levels of integrity and respect for one another, and Mr. Potdevin fell short of these standards of conduct." A search is underway for Potdevin's successor.

"Culture is at the core of Lululemon," Executive Chairman Glenn Murphy said in a statement. "Protecting the organization's culture is one of the board's most important duties."

But the company didn't elaborate, worrying some analysts.

Calling Murphy a "capable pair of hands," Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, wrote in an investor note. "We also believe that today's announcement is vague and damaging. Lululemon owes it to investors and to customers to be clear about the reasons Mr. Potdevin was made to depart."

Saunders noted that the company typically prides itself on transparency, arguing that a failure to be open could hurt the brand.

Lululemon has seen its share of drama since its 1998 founding. Five years ago, the company had to recall yoga pants that were too sheer. It also came under fire for controversial remarks about women made by founder Chip Wilson. Wilson is no longer employed by the company.

But the four-year tenure of Potdevin has been more smooth for the company, which recently adjusted its guidance for fourth-quarter earnings upward. Lululemon, which will report earnings next month, now expects comparable sales to increase by a percentage in the high single digits. The company had a strong third quarter with increases in both revenue and comparable sales.

Lululemon began using the agency Virtue Worldwide, part of Vice Media, on ad campaigns last year. Asked recently about the status of that relationship following allegations of sexual harassment at Vice, a Lululemon representative declined to comment.

Most Popular