By Beth Kowitt and Colleen Leahey
FORTUNE -- So much for a "little bit of time off."
This past summer, Day told Fortune she was planning to take some time away from the professional world once a new Lululemon CEO was named, to focus on friends and family and to finish a management book she's writing -- then "build something else again." Day, an executive at Starbucks (SBUX) prior to Lululemon, told Fortune at the time, "I have one more in me."
Former TOMS CEO Laurent Potdevin became Lululemon's chief only in December -- so Day's career news might feel a bit sudden. But the Luvo gig, a seemingly perfect blend of her past experiences with her personal interests, allows her to ease into the transition, starting part-time in April and joining the company full time in September. The Wall Street Journal reported that Luvo's founder, Steve Sidwell, first approached Day about the job in September 2013.
Day's appeal to both Lululemon and Starbucks also likely made her attractive to Luvo: an appreciation for culture along with an ability to scale a fast-growing enterprise and build a brand. She has a knack for taking small companies to the big leagues while maintaining their cool factor.
During her two decades at Starbucks, Day worked directly with founder and CEO Howard Schultz to help build the brand, most recently driving Starbucks Japan's stock price from the low teens to the low-50s between 2004 and 2007. She then joined Lululemon, managing its founder Chip Wilson's aspirations for the yoga retailer. Day helped hone his vision, creating focused messaging that transformed Lululemon into a cult-turned-mainstream brand.
Luvo promotes a healthy lifestyle, much like Starbucks and Lululemon. "In order to scale [a business], there has to be continuity of message, a continuity of purpose and an anchoring [of the message]," Day told Fortune in July. Based on Day's past career choices, it seems to fit her trajectory of working for companies that fit with her lifestyle.
Day, who is reported to own 15% of Luvo, has the chance to build another company -- this time without scrutiny from public shareholders. That doesn't mean that she's looking to get out of the limelight altogether. Luvo's investors include Derek Jeter and actress Jennifer Garner, which will keep the company in the public eye.
Day's past successes paint a promising future for Luvo: In the next few years, don't be surprised to see fit men and women, clad in their Lululemon gear with a Starbucks latte in hand, cluttering supermarkets' frozen food aisles as they pass over the Lean Cuisines and Healthy Choices to reach for a Luvo meal.
With a wild-card founder and complex offerings, the company struggles to win over the crop of haters that arose after last spring's product recall.
FORTUNE -- Thursday, Lululemon founder and chairman Chip Wilson blamed his company's customers for the retailer's product issues. "Quite frankly some women's bodies just actually don't work for it," he said on Bloomberg TV, referring to sheerness and pilling in Lululemon's famed yoga pants.
Lululemon (LULU) survived the springtime recall MOREColleen Leahey, Reporter - Nov 8, 2013 4:46 PM ET
Christine Day's announcement that she's leaving Lululemon has left many scratching their heads.Colleen Leahey, Reporter - Jun 14, 2013 5:00 AM ET
Christine Day, CEO of Lululemon Athletica, still manages to fit exercise into a hectic work schedule.
By Alex Konrad, reporter
FORTUNE -- As CEO of a global athletic brand (new stores just opened in London and Hong Kong), Christine Day travels two weeks out of five -- all while keeping up a fitness regimen befitting the company she leads. Whenever she visits a store, she has Lululemon (LULU) employees who run in-store classes MOREDec 4, 2012 5:00 AM ET
Christine Day joined Lululemon Athletica in 2008 and helped the yoga-inspired athletic apparel maker grow by trusting her employees to make decisions.
Interview by Colleen Leahey, reporter
FORTUNE -- It's true that Lululemon Athletica's manifesto proclaims that "friends are more important than money," but there's been a lot of the latter pouring in these days. In 2008, CEO Christine Day joined the company after 20 years at Starbucks (SBUX); she has increased MOREMar 16, 2012 5:00 AM ET
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