By Neil Saunders
Lululemon owes it to investors and to customers, to be clear about the reasons why Potdevin was made to depart. Failure to do so will likely lead to speculation which could ultimately harm the brand.
While the reasons for the departure of Laurent Potdevin are unclear, his exit is a blow to Lululemon.
During his tenure, Potdevin oversaw the steady expansion of Lululemon through both calm and rough periods in the athleisure market. His innovative approach and his clear sense of Lululemon’s values and essence is one of the reasons the company has enjoyed continued success, even while other sporting brands struggle to generate growth.
Although we see Executive Chairman Glenn Murphy as a capable pair of hands in the short term, Lululemon needs a CEO to guide it as it expands overseas and tries to make further gains in its home market. It is crucial that the right person is selected and that the task is undertaken with urgency so that Lululemon doesn’t lose momentum.
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 why Potdevin was made to depart. As a company that prides itself on transparency and openness, we would expect it to have an honest conversation with stakeholders. Failure to do so will likely lead to speculation which could ultimately harm the brand.
Neil Saunders is managing director of GlobalData Retail.