Lululemon Athletica

Ex-Lululemon CEO Day to head frozen food company

January 14, 2014: 12:58 PM ET

Christine Day, who recently left yoga retailer Lululemon after heading it for five years, announced she's joining frozen food company Luvo as its CEO.

By Beth Kowitt and Colleen Leahey

Christine Day

Christine Day

FORTUNE -- So much for a "little bit of time off."

On Tuesday, former Lululemon (LULU) CEO Christine Day announced she's taking the reins at Luvo, a frozen food company that focuses on low calorie, low sodium meals.

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.

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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.

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