Chip Wilson

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Chip Wilson
Dennis J. Wilson

1955 (age 65–66)
EducationUniversity of Calgary
Known forFounder of Lululemon Athletica
Net worthUS$4.8 billion (May 2020)[1]
Spouse(s)Nancy Wilson
Shannon Wilson

Dennis J. "Chip" Wilson (born 1955) is a Canadian billionaire, businessman and philanthropist, who has founded several retail apparel companies, most notably yoga-inspired athletic apparel company Lululemon Athletica Inc (TSX: LLL, NASDAQ: LULU).[1] Wilson is widely considered to be the creator of the athleisure trend.[2] In 2016, he organized his personal and business interests into the holding company Hold It All Inc.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Wilson was born in San Diego,[citation needed] California, 1955.[5][6] Both of his parents were athletes at college, and his father in later life was a physical education teacher.[6] In 1980, he graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Calgary.[7]


In 1979, Wilson founded his first retail apparel company, Westbeach Snowboard Ltd, which sold apparel targeted at the surf, skate, and snowboard markets. He sold Westbeach in 1997 and founded Lululemon Athletica Inc in 1998.[8] As of 2016, his personal and business interests are maintained through Hold It All Inc.[4][3]

Wilson served as CEO of Lululemon until 2005, when he sold a 48% stake to private equity firms Advent International [9] and Highland Capital Partners.[10] In 2007, an IPO was offered by Lululemon Athletica Inc. on Canadian and US exchanges.[11] In January 2012, Wilson retired from his executive post as chief innovation and branding officer, but remained chairman of the board of directors.[10] In December 2013, he stepped down from his role as non-executive chairman.[12]

In June 2014, Wilson raised concerns that the Lululemon board was not aligned with the core values of product and innovation on which the company was founded, and on which it thrived.[13] Six months after the board's reconstitution, the company's share price rose from a June 2014 low of $36.26 to $65.33, a change in market capitalization of over $4 billion.[14]

In August 2014, Wilson sold 13.85% of his ownership in Lululemon to Advent for approximately $845 million.[15][16][17]

In February 2015, Wilson stepped down from Lululemon's board of directors, saying, "I have achieved the goals I set when I came back, and after careful thought, I believe that now is the right time to step away from the board. I leave behind a new and talented management team and new board construct."[18]

In December 2015, in an interview with Bloomberg Business, Wilson said, "Three years ago, when I was chairman and Lululemon was worth twice as much as Under Armour, I personally was thinking of buying Under Armour."[19]

In June 2016, Wilson published an open letter to shareholders of Lululemon stating that it had "lost its way" and given up market share to Nike and Under Armour, after he was denied the opportunity to speak at the company's annual meetings.[20][21][22]

In 2016, Wilson created Hold It All, a holding company that includes Wilson Capital, Wilson 5 Foundation, and Low Tide Properties,[23] with a vision to "create possibilities for people to live longer, healthier, more fun lives."[24]

Personal life[edit]

He has five sons, two from his first marriage to Nancy.[25] He is married to Shannon Wilson, one of the original designers of Lululemon and co-founder of Kit and Ace, along with his son JJ Wilson. They reside in Vancouver, BC.[1]

In 2004, Ernst & Young named Wilson its Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year for Innovation and Marketing.[26] As of 2012, Forbes ranked Wilson the 10th-wealthiest Canadian and 401st in the world, with an estimated net worth as of March  2013 of $2.9 billion.[1]

Awards and honors[edit]

In 2012, Wilson was named Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year by University of Victoria's Gustavson School of Business, with Gustavson stating that "Chip Wilson exemplifies the values of a visionary entrepreneur...We tell our students to do something they are passionate about. Chip is an excellent role model for them — he's built an enormously successful organization doing what he loves.”[27]

In 2014, Wilson and his wife, Shannon Wilson, received honorary doctorates from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design.[28] One year later, they received honorary doctorates from the Kwantlen Polytechnic University.[29]

In 2018, Wilson was inducted into the Business Laureates of British Columbia Hall of Fame.

Wealth and investments[edit]

Wilson is listed on the Forbes World Billionaires List, currently ranked the 574th richest person[30] in the world. He is also credited by Business Insider and Forbes as being the 8th richest person in Canada[31].

Wilson is a partner[32] with Anta Sports, a sportswear company based in Jinjiang China, with whom he purchased Amer Sports[33] after looking to acquire Amer on his own. Wilson acquired a 20.65% stake[34] in the joint venture that acquired Amer, along with Anta and FountainVest Partners.


In 2007, Wilson and his wife, Shannon Wilson, launched imagine1day, a charity dedicated to improving education conditions in Ethiopia. The organization's goal is for all Ethiopians to have access to quality education free of foreign aid funding by 2030.[35] As of June 2016, imagine1day had 487 partner schools, 35 of them built from the ground up by its team. Also, 1,130 school clubs had been created, with half run by girls. 66,420 books, 180 science kits, and 160 sports sets had been provided to students. Imagine1day estimates that over 252,000 lives are transformed annually through its education and training.[36]

The Chip and Shannon Wilson School of Design at Kwantlen Polytechnic University[37] is a $36 million project. Chip and Shannon Wilson pledged $12 million[38] to the school with the goal of solidifying the future of BC's technical apparel industry. Lululemon, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and the Province of British Columbia serve as additional financial partners. The school broke ground in fall 2013 and will include new teaching studios, gallery space for student exhibitions, and a "usability lab" where students can design, prototype, and market product concepts. The school was scheduled to open in 2015 and was expected to increase the number of design students by 57%.[39]

Wilson and his wife are sponsors of the annual Child Run. The Child Run is the largest family fun run in Vancouver, with a 5 km for runners and walkers on a route through Queen Elizabeth Park and a 1 km fun run, followed by a carnival celebration. Proceeds support British Columbia's Children's Hospital and its fight against childhood cancer. In 2014, the run had over 6,000 participants and raised over $1 million.[40]

In 2013, Wilson and his spouse launched, a website designed "to convince professionals to meditate a few times a day in increments of just 60 seconds" by making it more accessible.[41]


Wilson appeared in a CBS interview in 2015 where he apologized for past statements regarding the Lululemon yoga pant scandal, saying, "I'm responsible for what comes out of my mouth. And if that's what was interpreted then I fully apologize. Yeah. I'm sorry."[42]

On November 18, 2013, Wilson was the subject of The Colbert Report's "Alpha Dog of the Week"; Stephen Colbert sarcastically criticized Wilson for his views on the influence of birth control and for having said that some women's bodies "just actually don't work" for his company's pants.[43]


  1. ^ a b c d "Forbes profile: Chip Wilson". Forbes. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  2. ^ "The Arrival of Athleisure: Five Companies Conquering the Trend of Technical Apparel". Techvibes. July 14, 2016. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Hold It All". Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Hold It All: Chip Wilson's Vision - Danes In Hawaii". Danes In Hawaii. October 23, 2016. Retrieved February 16, 2017.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Wallace, Amy (February 2, 2015). "Chip Wilson, Lululemon Guru, Is Moving On". Retrieved February 6, 2019 – via
  6. ^ a b Daily, Investor's Business (June 8, 2012). "Chip Wilson's Design Made Lululemon A Winner - Investor's Business Daily". Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  7. ^ "Dance, sing, floss and travel". Archived from the original on August 21, 2004. Retrieved July 23, 2004.
  8. ^ "Chip Wilson's Design Made Lululemon A Winner". Retrieved June 8, 2012.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 14, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ a b "Lululemon founder Chip Wilson steps down from management, will stay on board". The Star. Toronto. January 6, 2012. Retrieved January 6, 2012.
  11. ^ "Lululemon tries IPO on for size". Retrieved March 27, 2007.
  12. ^ Rohit T. K. and Chris Peters (December 6, 2013). "Lululemon names new CEO; founder Chip Wilson to step down". Reuters.
  13. ^ "lululemon Founder Chip Wilson Votes Against Re-Election of Outside Directors". Yahoo News. June 11, 2014.
  14. ^ "lLululemon Billionaire Chip Wilson Quits Board, Moves Into Performance Cashmere". Forbes. February 2, 2015.
  15. ^ "lululemon Founder Chip Wilson Votes Against Re-Election of Outside Directors". August 7, 2014.
  16. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 13, 2014. Retrieved August 13, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ "Power shifts at Lululemon as Chip Wilson seals deal". Globe and Mail. June 11, 2014.
  18. ^ "Lululemon Billionaire Chip Wilson Quits Board, Moves Into Performance Cashmere". Forbes. February 2, 2015.
  19. ^ matt_townsend, Nick Turner SFNick Matthew Townsend. "Lululemon Founder Says He Considered Acquiring Under Armour". Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  20. ^ "Lululemon Founder Slams Company, Now That He's Allowed To". BuzzFeed. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  21. ^ Mau, Dhani (June 2, 2016). "Lululemon Founder Chip Wilson Created a Whole Website to Criticize the Company". Fashionista. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  22. ^ "Elevate Lululemon". Elevate lululemon. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  23. ^ "PORTFOLIO". Hold It All. Retrieved May 7, 2021.
  24. ^ "VISION & VALUES". Hold It All. Retrieved May 7, 2021.
  25. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 8, 2015. Retrieved February 8, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  26. ^ "Focus on your future" (PDF). Retrieved May 22, 2012.
  27. ^ "Lululemon Founder UVic's 2012 Distinguished Entrepreneur - University of Victoria". Retrieved June 17, 2021.
  28. ^ "Lululemon founder Chip Wilson receiving honorary doctorate from Emily Carr University of Art + Design". Georgia Straight Vancouver's News & Entertainment Weekly. April 24, 2014. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  29. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 25, 2015. Retrieved May 25, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  30. ^ "Forbes Billionaires 2021: The Richest People in the World". Forbes. Retrieved June 17, 2021.
  31. ^ "Top 10 richest people in Canada according to Forbes as of March 7, 2021". Retrieved June 17, 2021.
  32. ^ Flannery, Russell. "China Sportswear Billionaires Cut Anta Stake In Sale Nearing $1.5 Billion". Forbes. Retrieved June 17, 2021.
  33. ^ "Here's what a morning with Vancouver billionaire Chip Wilson is like". Vancouver Is Awesome. Retrieved June 17, 2021.
  34. ^ "Here's what a morning with Vancouver billionaire Chip Wilson is like". Vancouver Is Awesome. Retrieved June 17, 2021.
  35. ^ "Imagine1Day - WE". Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  36. ^ "imagine1day: Get to know us". Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  37. ^ "Chip and Shannon Wilson School of Design". Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  38. ^ $12M donation from Lululemon founders helps launch new Chip and Shannon Wilson School of Design at Kwantlen "" December 7, 2012
  39. ^ Partnership designed for continued success at KPU Archived November 9, 2013, at the Wayback Machine "" December 7, 2012
  40. ^ "Global News: Child Run 2014". Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  41. ^ "Why Lululemon's Billionaire Founder Is Making One-Minute Meditation His Next Big Project". Business Insider. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  42. ^ "Lululemon founder Chip Wilson on past controversy, new family business Kit and Ace". Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  43. ^ "Lululemon Founder Chip Wilson Slammed On 'The Colbert Report' (VIDEO)". November 19, 2013. Retrieved November 19, 2013.