Though shares of Lululemon still account for more than half his considerable fortune, Chip Wilson gave up his say on running the athleisure company when he stepped down from its board in 2015. He now occupies his time with Kit and Ace, a casual-fashion retailer started by his wife, Shannon, and son J.J. Originally an arms-length adviser, Chip Wilson has assumed an increasingly central role at the company, which last September laid off 20% of its 280-person head office team after another round of cuts—including the CEO. His other assets include as much as half a billion dollars’ worth of Vancouver real estate and stock in Lululemon competitors Under Armour and Nike.
Wilson fought with the Lululemon board on several occasions, including a failed attempt to convince them to invest in Qemir (pronounced “ka-meer”), a type of wash-and-wear cashmere Shannon developed in 2013. The new fabric formed the basis for Kit and Ace. The public spats, as well as PR embarrassments and eroding sales, had driven down Lululemon’s stock; under new CEO Laurent Potdevin it has been rising once again.
The Wilson family has also given away some of its wealth, including an $8-million gift to Kwantlen Polytechnic University in 2012 for the Chip and Shannon Wilson School of Design.
Updated Thursday, November 9, 2017