Lululemon Athletica Inc. announced Monday that Laurent Potdevin has resigned as CEO effective immediately, saying he fell short of the company’s standards of conduct. The Vancouver-based maker of yoga pants and other athletic-inspired clothing didn’t offer specifics but said it expects all employees to “exemplify the highest level of integrity and respect for one another.” A person familiar with the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because of not being authorized to speak publicly said it was not a single event but “a range of instances” at issue, none of which involving the financial or operational aspects of the business. Lululemon said it has begun the search for a successor.
Total Retail's Take: It will be interesting to see what Potdevin's transgressions were — I'm sure that information will be released in the coming days — but the company's board has decided to take a hard-line stance. Instilling the right corporate culture is an increasingly common theme you hear from retail leaders, and is integral to their personal as well as the company's success. Apparently Potdevin's behavior hasn't been a positive example for Lululemon's workforce, and the board wasn't willing to make that sacrifice despite some financial gains under his watch — including a growing e-commerce business, and expansion into menswear. In December, Lululemon posted strong results for its fiscal third quarter and raised its forecasts for the full year. But that wasn't enough to save Potdevin's job, which leads me to believe there will be allegations to come in this story.