- German sportswear retailer Adidas AG has hired former Lululemon CEO Christine Day as an adviser, the Wall Street Journal reports.
- Day is advising Adidas on the company's strategy to reach the competitive women's sportswear market and its partnerships with smaller brands.
- Day has been CEO of frozen-foods company Luvo since leaving Lululemon in 2014 over differences with founder Chip Wilson, who has also left the company since then.
Christine Day is widely credited with overseeing Lululemon’s rapid growth, but stepped down as the retailer staggered under pressure from product quality issues and a public relations nightmare made worse by comments from its founder Chip Wilson. While her departure was tinged with the quality and public relations issues swirling around the athleisure company, that move was mostly about how her vision about the company’s future conflicted with founder Wilson’s.
Wilson has more or less washed his hands of the company since then. Lululemon's internal struggles were intensifying just as the athleisure trend began to really take off, igniting a fierce level of competition that it didn’t seem all that prepared for at first.
Before starting to advise Adidas, Day was quietly serving as the CEO of a health-focused frozen food company called Luvo. Now, Adidas wants Day to advise on the company's retail strategy at a time when the number three sports retailer is keen to catch up to rivals Under Armour and Nike. With Adidas looking at women' fitness and sportswear as an important piece of the market, Day's expertise in the female-focused athleisure category make her a natural fit for the role.
When asked by Fortune how Adidas can differentiate itself in this crowded space, Day said the none of the competition "do it well."
"Nike and Under Armour speak to the professional athlete and take their version of men’s gear and try to make those products work for women. They are making women mini men, not celebrating the diversity of who women are. Celebrity brands tend to be more about 'be like me,'" she said. "Adidas is creating a different voice, through the beauty of the Stella McCartney partnership, and the performance of sport and appreciating the beauty of women and who they are today."