Alumni Spotlight: Stuart Haselden, '92, COO/CFO lululemon athletica
Stuart Haselden, ’92, is the Chief Operating Officer/Chief Financial Officer for the clothing line lululemon athletica. He visited Auburn recently and talked with student leaders from the College of Liberal Arts. He took time to answer many student questions, from favorite Auburn memories and classes to characteristics he looks for in potential employees.
After meeting with the students, Haselden headed to Haley Center and met with us (the office of communciation and marketing in the College of Liberal Arts) for an interview. Haselden maneuvered campus easily and is likely no stranger to finding his way—not only on Auburn’s campus, but as an Army veteran as well. He attended Auburn on an Army ROTC scholarship and served in the Army for four years after graduating.
“Army ROTC was certainly a big focus for me as a student,” Haselden said. “My liberal arts degree, though, certainly was a part of that experience. It made me a better person, a better leader, a better Army officer, and ultimately helped support the next step that I took after the military, into business school.”
With an intent to ultimately attend law school, Haselden declared political science his major, but it was an English class that stuck with him the most.
“I think my favorite class here at Auburn was English composition. I had a great professor who was tough and really pushed us as students. And I can still hear her words, even today, as I draft different documents to ensure I have very concise, clear ideas, composed in a way that is effective. That was one of the more memorable classes and I think that it certainly has served me well.”
After leaving the Army, Haselden obtained an MBA in finance from Tulane University. He began a career in consulting, which he said he didn’t enjoy as much as he thought he would, so when an opportunity to work in a corporate finance role with Saks Inc. opened up in 1998, he took it.
“I was at Saks Incorporated in Birmingham for six years,” Haselden said. “Then I spent nine years with J. Crew in New York City. I left as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of J. Crew to begin working as the CFO at lululemon in 2015, in Vancouver.”
Haselden did not reference the Auburn Creed during his interview, but given his success, it is clear that he believes in work, hard work. He also acknowledges the importance of an education.
“As I think about my liberal arts education, how that helped support what ’ve entered into throughout my career, both in the military, and in business, I believe it helped—it gave me a foundation in critical thinking, how to write, how to apply the work ethic that I learned as a student in different settings. I think what’s great about a liberal arts education is that it’s not just one thing, it’s not a narrow functional expertise. You don’t come to get an undergraduate education to learn how to do a specific task repetitively. You learn how to think critically, across a range of areas, and that ultimately, I think, has served me well. Not only as an army officer, but as a business leader.”
Written by Vicky Santos, director of external affairs in the College of Liberal Arts.
Last Updated: April 25, 2018