Leadership shakeup as Kevin Plank retakes reins of Under Armour

Stephanie Linnartz
Stephanie Linnartz is stepping down as CEO and president of Under Armour.

That didn’t take very long.

A little more than one year after she started, Stephanie Linnartz is stepping down as CEO, president and board member of Under Armour. The company’s founder, executive board chair and controlling shareholder, Kevin Plank, will return as president and chief executive, effective April 1, 2024.

Linnartz, who will remain as an advisor to the sports apparel brand through April 30, took the reins of the company in February 2023 after more than 25 years at Marriott, most recently as president of Marriott International. She was one of 60 candidates considered for the position, reported CNBC. and selected for the job due to her digital prowess and success in transforming the hotel chain’s online presence, Plank told CNBC at the time.

In connection with Plank's appointment, Mohamed A. El-Erian, lead director of the board since 2020, will become non-executive chair. Plank will remain a director on the board. (El-Erian is the president of Queens' CollegeUniversity of Cambridge, and the chief economic advisor at Allianz, parent company of investment giant Pimco.)

“I want to thank Stephanie for her contributions to Under Armour,” said Plank. “We deeply appreciate her hard work and dedication. During her tenure, she strengthened the leadership team with executive hires in critical areas, including product, design, supply chain, consumer connectivity, and regional management. 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."

Plank founded Under Armour in 1996. From 1996 to 2019, he served as the company’s CEO and board chair. In 2020, he was appointed executive chair and board chief. 

Under Armour has struggled in recent years amid product missteps, changing consumer tastes and increased competition from the likes of Lululemon and Dick’s Sporting Goods. During her short tenure, Linnartz focused on improving product design, increasing sales of women’s products and returning the U.S. business to growth.

"As the company continues to navigate several post-pandemic consumer, industry, and brand-specific factors, we are working hard to reconstitute our strengths and make thoughtful, balanced business decisions to drive enduring success for athletes, customers, and shareholders," Plank stated. "I am energized about the team we have put into place and look forward to seizing the opportunities ahead."

Plank resigned as Under Armour CEO in 2019, amid reports that the Securities and Exchange Commission and Justice Department were investigating the company’s accounting. In May 2021, the company paid $9 million to settle  brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission that it had misled investors about its sales growth in the mid-2010s.

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