Chip Wilson

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Chip Wilson
Born Dennis J. Wilson
1956 (age 60–61)
North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Residence Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Alma mater University of Calgary (B.A.)
Occupation Founder of Lululemon Athletica
Spouse(s) Shannon Wilson

Dennis J. "Chip" Wilson (born 1956) is a Canadian 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] Chip Wilson is widely considered to be the original 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]

Business career[edit]

In 1979, Wilson founded his first retail apparel company, Westbeach Snowboard Ltd., which sold apparel targeted at the surf, skate, and snowboard markets. Wilson went on to sell Westbeach in 1997 and founded Lululemon Athletica Inc. in 1998.[5]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% minority stake in lululemon to private equity firms Advent International [6] and Highland Capital Partners.[7] In 2007 an IPO was offered by Lululemon Athletica Inc. on Canadian and US exchanges.[8] In January 2012, Wilson retired from his executive post as chief innovation and branding officer, but remained chairman of the board of directors.[7] In December 2013, Wilson stepped down from his role as non-executive chairman.[9]

On June 11, 2014, Wilson raised his concerns that the Lululemon Board was not aligned with the core values of product and innovation on which lululemon was founded, and on which the company thrived.[10] Six months after the board reconstitution the company’s share price boosted from a June 2014 low of $36.26 to $65.33 — a change in market capitalization of over $4 billion.[11]

On August 7, 2014, Wilson sold 13.85% of his ownership in Lululemon inc to Advent's for approximately $845 million.[12][13][14]

In October 2014, Wilson participated in TEDxVancouver where he discussed "Building Legacy in the Digital Age".[15]

In February 2015, Wilson stepped down from the Lululemon 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.” [16]

In December 2015, in an interview with Bloomberg Business, Wilson stated, "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."[17]

In June 2016, Wilson published an open letter to shareholders of Lululemon stating that Lululemon has “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.[18][19][20]

Personal life[edit]

Wilson, born in 1956,[21] graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Calgary in 1980.[22] He has five sons, two from Wilson’s first marriage to Nancy,[23] and 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, B.C.

In 2004 Ernst & Young named Wilson its Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year for Innovation and Marketing.[24] As of 2012 Forbes ranked Wilson as the 10th wealthiest Canadian and 401st in the world, with an estimated net worth as of March 2013 of $2.9 billion.[25]

Awards and honors[edit]

In 2014, Wilson and his wife, Shannon Wilson, received honorary doctorates from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design.[26] One year later, they received honorary doctorates from the Kwantlen Polytechnic University.[27]


In 2007 Wilson, along with his wife Shannon Wilson, launched imagine1day, a charity dedicated to improving education conditions in Ethiopia. The organization’s goal is that all Ethiopians have access to quality education free of foreign aid funding by 2030.[28] As of June 2016, imagine1day had 487 partner schools with 35 of those built from the ground up by its team. Also, 1,130 school clubs have been created with half run by girls. 66,420 books, 180 science kits, & 160 sports sets have been provided to the students. imagine1day estimates that over 252,000 lives are transformed annually through their education & training.[29]

The Chip and Shannon Wilson School of Design at Kwantlen Polytechnic University [30] is a $36 million project. Chip and Shannon Wilson pledged $12 million [31] 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 is scheduled to open in 2015 and is expected to increase the overall number of design students by 57 percent.[32]

Chip and Shannon Wilson are leading sponsors of the annual Child Run. The Child Run is the largest family fun run in Vancouver, with a 5K for runners and walkers on a scenic route through Queen Elizabeth Park and a 1K fun run, followed by a carnival celebration. Proceeds support British Columbia's Children's Hospital and their fight against childhood cancer. In 2014, the run had over 6,000 participants and raised over $1 million.[33]

In 2013, Chip and Shannon Wilson 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.[34]


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."[35]

On November 18, 2013, Wilson was the subject of the Stephen Colbert show's segment "Alpha Dog of the Week"; Colbert sarcastically criticized the CEO 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.[36]


  1. ^ "Forbes: Chip Wilson". Retrieved 2012-03-01. 
  2. ^ "The Arrival of Athleisure: Five Companies Conquering the Trend of Technical Apparel". Techvibes. 2016-07-14. Retrieved 2016-07-19. 
  3. ^ a b "Hold It All". Retrieved 2017-02-16. 
  4. ^ a b "Hold It All: Chip Wilson's Vision - Danes In Hawaii". Danes In Hawaii. 2016-10-23. Retrieved 2017-02-16. 
  5. ^ "Chip Wilson's Design Made Lululemon A Winner". Retrieved 2012-06-08. 
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-08-14. Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  7. ^ a b "Lululemon founder Chip Wilson steps down from management, will stay on board". The Star. Toronto. 2012-01-06. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  8. ^ "Lululemon tries IPO on for size". Retrieved 2007-03-27. 
  9. ^ Rohit T. K. and Chris Peters (6 December 2013). "Lululemon names new CEO; founder Chip Wilson to step down". Reuters. 
  10. ^ "lululemon Founder Chip Wilson Votes Against Re-Election of Outside Directors". Yahoo News. 11 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "lLululemon Billionaire Chip Wilson Quits Board, Moves Into Performance Cashmere". Forbes. 2 February 2015. 
  12. ^ "lululemon Founder Chip Wilson Votes Against Re-Election of Outside Directors". 7 August 2014. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Power shifts at Lululemon as Chip Wilson seals deal". Globe and Mail. 11 June 2014. 
  15. ^ TEDx Talks (2015-01-29), Building legacy in the digital age - Chip Wilson - TEDxVancouver, retrieved 2016-03-24 
  16. ^ "Lululemon Billionaire Chip Wilson Quits Board, Moves Into Performance Cashmere". Forbes. 2 February 2015. 
  17. ^ matt_townsend, Nick Turner SFNick Matthew Townsend. "Lululemon Founder Says He Considered Acquiring Under Armour". Retrieved 2016-03-01. 
  18. ^ "Lululemon Founder Slams Company, Now That He's Allowed To". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2016-06-03. 
  19. ^ Mau, Dhani (June 2, 2016). "Lululemon Founder Chip Wilson Created a Whole Website to Criticize the Company". Fashionista. Retrieved June 3, 2016. 
  20. ^ "Elevate Lululemon". Elevate lululemon. Retrieved 2016-06-03. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Dance, sing, floss and travel". Retrieved 2004-07-23. 
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Focus on your future" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-05-22. 
  25. ^ "Forbes: Chip Wilson". Retrieved 2013-11-16. 
  26. ^ [1]
  27. ^ [2]
  28. ^
  29. ^ "imagine1day: Get to know us". Retrieved 2016-06-20. 
  30. ^
  31. ^ $12M donation from Lululemon founders helps launch new Chip and Shannon Wilson School of Design at Kwantlen "" December 7, 2012
  32. ^ Partnership designed for continued success at KPU “” December 7, 2012
  33. ^ "Global News: Child Run 2014". Retrieved 2014-05-27. 
  34. ^ "Why Lululemon's Billionaire Founder Is Making One-Minute Meditation His Next Big Project". Business Insider. Retrieved 2016-03-24. 
  35. ^ "Lululemon founder Chip Wilson on past controversy, new family business Kit and Ace". Retrieved 2016-01-15. 
  36. ^ "Lululemon Founder Chip Wilson Slammed On 'The Colbert Report' (VIDEO)". November 19, 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2013.