Under Armour Founder Returns as CEO Amid Leadership Shake-Up

Kevin Plank Reclaims Under Armour's Helm | The Enterprise World

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Under Armour (UA, UAA) has announced a significant shift in leadership dynamics: founder Kevin Plank is reclaiming the position of Chief Executive Officer, supplanting Stephanie Linnartz, who held the role for merely a year.

Yahoo Finance Executive Editor Brian Sozzi delves into the market’s response and offers insights into Plank’s operational challenges during his prior tenure as CEO.

For further expert analysis and the latest market developments, you can access the full episode of Yahoo Finance Live here. Under Armour, the renowned sports apparel company, disclosed on Wednesday that its founder, Kevin Plank, would reassume the helm as chief executive, marking a leadership shake-up aimed at reinvigorating the ailing brand.

Kevin Plank Reclaims Chief Executive Role, Initiates Strategic Shifts

Plank, who established Under Armour in 1996, retained his position as the company’s executive chair and controlling stakeholder after stepping down as CEO in 2019. Effective April 1, he will resume the role, succeeding Stephanie Linnartz, who steered the company for slightly over a year. Linnartz succeeded Patrik Frisk, who occupied the position for two years.

Once touted as the next Nike, Under Armour has encountered setbacks in recent years amidst a string of missteps and evolving consumer preferences in a fiercely competitive market. With dwindling sales, the company’s stock plummeted approximately 85% since attaining a peak in 2015. Following the announcement of Plank’s return to the helm after a four-year hiatus from the position, the stock experienced a modest uptick in after-hours trading.

Founder Kevin Plank returning as Under Armour CEO

Market Reacts to Leadership Change, Reflecting on Company’s Turbulent Trajectory

In a communication to employees shared on LinkedIn regarding his reinstatement, Plank conveyed the company’s intent to reassess its trajectory, aiming to “make the necessary decisions to steer us back on the course towards actively nurturing and propelling our complete brand potential.” Meanwhile, Linnartz, who orchestrated several changes in the company’s leadership roster in recent months, has emphasized capitalizing on the surging interest in athleisure through innovative marketing strategies and product offerings. In a LinkedIn post announcing her departure on Wednesday, she expressed optimism about her tenure at Under Armour. Linnartz will continue to offer counsel to the company until the end of April.

Mohamed El-Erian, an economist and former CEO of the investment management behemoth Pimco, will assume the role of board chair.

Amanda Miller, a spokesperson for Under Armour, refrained from elaborating on the rationale behind the leadership transition and the decision-maker behind it. Neither Plank nor Linnartz responded immediately to requests for further commentary on Wednesday evening.

Plank’s initial tenure as CEO was not devoid of controversy. In May 2021, the company settled charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission, paying $9 million to resolve allegations of misleading investors regarding its sales growth during the mid-2010s.

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