Hobbit Business Review

Under Armour Founder Kevin Plank Returns as CEO After Controversial Exit, Shares Plummet 12% Upon the News

Athletic and sporting goods brand Under Armour just announced a major shakeup as the company’s founder, Kevin Plank, has returned to his role as CEO. He replaces Stephanie Linnartz after she spent roughly one year in the position.

“On behalf of the full team, I want to thank Stephanie for her contributions to Under Armour. We deeply appreciate her hard work and dedication,” Plank said in a company statement. “Her prior experience leading major brands was instrumental in focusing our consumer strategy, including the launch of the U.S. loyalty program, UA Rewards. Her efforts have helped set us on the right path, and we wish her success in her future endeavors.”

Linnartz will remain at the company as an advisor through April 30 before fully departing, and Plank will assume his role as CEO beginning April 1.

Linnartz made the jump to the retail industry in 2023 after 25 years in hospitality, most recently being appointed as Global Chief Commercial Officer at Marriott. She was tapped for the role to help the struggling athleticwear brand, which included a three-year plan to focus on womenswear and athleisure and making changes to top leadership.

“I feel honored to have served as Under Armour’s President & CEO and worked with many incredible teammates who care deeply about the company’s purpose and mission,” Linnartz said. “We have a strong foundation in place for future growth and the company’s potential is limitless. I will continue to root for Under Armour’s success.”

Under Armour shares plummeted upon the announcement of Linnartz’s departure, dropping nearly 12% in stock valuation early Thursday, reportedly due to Plank’s controversial past.

Plank stepped down in 2020 after a bombshell Wall Street Journal report revealed that he had been seeking business advice from MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle, including flying her on private jets with the company aircraft and reportedly taking her advice over the company’s management team.

Plank was replaced at the time by the former CEO of Aldo Group, Patrik Frisk, who announced his resignation in May 2022.

Under Armour had a slow holiday quarter in 2023, with a 6% decrease in North American revenue and a net income of $114.1 million quarterly (as compared with $121.6 million at the same time last year).

As of Thursday afternoon, Under Armour was still down nearly 11% in a 24-hour period.

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