After Selling See-Through Yoga Pants, Lululemon's Looking for a New Product Designer

The Atlantic Wire

Lululemon, the upscale yoga clothing retailer, is letting their chief product officer go after a high-profile mishap in mid-March involving the company's yoga pants, thousands of which were pulled from stores after the company discovered a manufacturing error that had rendered the pants's fabric too transparent. The incident unleashed a thousand puns about corporate transparency and, among more concrete consequences, dramatically lowered the company's first-quarter earnings and sent its stock price tumbling. And now it's led to the ouster of a top executive, Sheree Waterson, who oversaw Lululemon's product line. According to a press release issued on Wednesday afternoon, Waterson is leaving the company on April 15 "in conjunction with a reorganization of our product organization." The company bid farewell to Waterson, who had been at the company for five years, by saying, “We appreciate the many contributions that Sheree made during her time with lululemon, particularly in the area of design."

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Waterson is likely to land on her feet. Public records of the company's financial records show that she was paid near $1.5 million in salary and stock in 2011. For the time being, her exit seems to answer at least one mini-scandal that fell out of the pants mishap: who exactly was responsible for the yoga pants's unacceptable transparency. Lululemon blamed its Taiwanese textile supplier, the Eclat Textile Company, which refuted the claims, for faulty fabric. While Lululemon has stuck by that claim, Bloomberg News coverage of Waterson's departure suggests they've admitted some internal problems, saying "the company’s testing protocols were incomplete."

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What's not in dispute is that the the company and its investors have lost a lot of money in its yoga pants debacle .

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