Under Armour HOVR Sonic 2 'Grey' Grey Marathon Running Shoes Sneakers 3021586-400 | Will Plank Do Things Differently for Under Armour this Time?

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Under Armour, Inc. (NYSE: UA, UAA) today announced that Kevin Plank will become President & Chief Executive Officer, effective April 1, 2024. Plank will succeed Stephanie Linnartz, who will be stepping down as President & Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board. In connection with Plank’s appointment, Dr. Mohamed A. El-Erian, an independent director since 2018 and Lead Director since 2020, will become the non-executive Chair of the Board. Plank, who will transition from Executive Chair of the Board, will remain a director. Linnartz will remain an advisor to the company through April 30, 2024.

When your company has to issue a statement for employees to not use company credit cards at strip clubs, the CEO needs to step away. Kevin Plank, like Phil Knight, built a sports company rooted in the prototype of business in the U.S. White, hetero, patriarchal and aggressive. Under Plank, expansion was reckless. Under Armour always felt like a brand saying, “Oh, they are doing that? We can too.” This chase of cool, tech and growth led Under Armour to become a staple of off-price retail.

Under Armour’s CEO Transition | Thoughts on an Unexpected Shift

When Frisk took over it was at the worst time for anyone to assume control of the brand. Connected Fitness had broken the brand, layoffs were taking place, strip clubs were strip clubbing; pulling UA from the bargain bin needed to be completed. Frisk performed the job admirably, but over his shoulder was Plank. When Frisk stepped away, I wrote the following words about him never being CEO, but being the CRO – Chief Restructuring Officer:

Patrik Frisk was placed into the worst situation of any leader in the sneaker industry. There isn’t another publicly traded sneaker company I can create a top 10 missteps list about covering a 5–7-year timeframe…

If Frisk was really the Chief Restructuring Officer this entire time, a new CEO makes sense and offers UA the ability to walk into this new Fiscal year with a fresh take on the next step for the brand. The last five years were critical to fixing a company that never truly had a plan. The next five years will be critical to a company still searching for an identity. Nike is sport. New Balance is fearlessly independent, and adidas has heritage. What is Under Armour? Better question, what is Under Armour with Lululemon, Hoka, On and Brooks now in the mix for the best brands in sport?

As Frisk stepped down a temporary CEO sat in the chair before Linnartz became the faux head of the company. When I saw the hire, I didn’t even write about it. You can search this site which has covered UA for ten years, and you won’t find a word about Stephanie Linnartz. The moment the hire happened I said she was only a placeholder until Plank could comfortably step back in after the world forgot about the misogyny and issues under his reign.

At this moment Under Armour feels like it’s aimed in a new direction and if I wasn’t writing this post, no one would probably mention the credit card and off-price Under Armour issues. UA feels like it’s in a better place and the driver doesn’t have to sit in the back seat anymore. The question is, did he learn while observing, or will he revert to pursuing via all aspect any other company initiates? Will it be different this time?

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