Business

Under Armor founder Kevin Plank to return as CEO

Under Armour, the sportswear company, said Wednesday that its founder, Kevin Plank, would return as chief executive, part of a management shake-up that will seek to revitalize the ailing brand.

Mr. Plank, who founded Under Armor in 1996, remained executive chairman and majority shareholder of the company after stepping down as chief executive at the end of 2019. He will succeed Stephanie Linnartz, who led the company for a little over a year. year. Ms. Linnartz succeeded Patrik Frisk, who held the position for two years.

Under Armour, once considered the next Nike, has weakened in recent years amid a series of missteps and changing consumer tastes in a highly competitive market. With sales falling, the company's shares have fallen about 85% since hitting a record high in 2015. They rose slightly after hours after news of Mr. Plank at the head of the company after four years of absence. .

In a memo to employees published on LinkedIn announces its returnMr. Plank said the company was evaluating its direction with the goal of “helping us make the right choices to get us back on track to actively building and moving toward the full potential of our brand.”

Ms. Linnartz, who has made a series of changes to the company's leadership team in recent months, recently spoke about capitalizing on the growing interest in athleisure with new products and marketing. In a publication on LinkedIn announcing his departure on Wednesday, she spoke positively about her time at Under Armour. She will continue to advise the company until the end of April.

Mohamed El-Erian, economist and former chief executive of investment management giant Pimco, will now serve as chairman of the board.

Amanda Miller, an Under Armor spokeswoman, declined to comment on the reason for the management change and who was behind the decision. Mr. Plank and Ms. Linnartz did not immediately respond to requests for additional comment Wednesday evening.

Mr. Plank's first term as chief executive was not without controversy. In May 2021, the company paid $9 million to pay the fees brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission that it misled investors about its sales growth in the mid-2010s.

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