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April 7, 2022

Lululemon taps former Adidas exec Atkins to lead footwear strategy

Canadian athletic apparel retailer Lululemon Athletica has tapped former Adidas general manager of US sports, Simon Atkins, as senior vice president of footwear amid its entry into the market.

By Beth Wright

Atkins took up his new role at Lululemon this week, assuming responsibility for leading the development and execution of the brand’s global footwear strategy and business. He also oversees the category’s innovation, development and merchandising teams, and partnering with design, supply chain and brand.

An industry veteran, Atkins started a consulting company focused on emerging footwear brands and has spent more than 25 years in various senior-level brand, marketing communications, and general management roles at Adidas. His most recent role was senior vice president and general manager of Adidas’ global basketball and US sports business, where he was responsible for the global businesses of basketball, American football, baseball, and hockey. Under his leadership, the global category became the fastest-growing performance category for the brand. 

His appointment comes after Lululemon launched its first-ever footwear collection last month. The first footwear offering from Lululemon is designed for female consumers, with the brand aiming to address that performance shoes are typically designed for men and then adapted for women.

“Lululemon’s brand strength is unparalleled and it’s an incredible time to join its best-in-class product team,” says Atkins, adding he looks forward to being a part of Lululemon’s continued growth story, and build on the positive response the brand has already received in launching its footwear offering.

The athletic apparel specialist has also appointed Phil Dickinson to the newly created role of senior vice president global creative director. He will report to Lululemon’s chief product officer Sun Cho alongside Atkins when he joins the company on 18 July.

As creative director, Lululemon says Dickinson will be instrumental in shaping the brand’s global creative strategy and roadmap for product design, building upon the work of Lululemon’s design team. 

Dickinson’s more than 20 years of experience in creative leadership includes having worked for Nike, Inc for 15 years, leading its growth in football and the wider sportswear categories, and establishing Some Ideas, a creative agency in London. Most recently, Dickinson held the role of global creative director for SuperDry where he had oversight of product design and driving the creative direction of the brand.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to join Lululemon and its team of creatives, who every day continue to redefine the product experience for its guests across apparel, accessories and footwear,” he says. “With the growing significance of versatility in product, Lululemon holds an extraordinary position in the market, and I look forward to continuing to build upon that strength.” 

Choe adds: “Both leaders bring a deep understanding of guest needs and a global mindset that will enable the brand to accelerate and scale our growth around the world.” 

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