When 2020 arrives, Kevin Plank will no longer be the CEO of Under Armour.
Plank, who founded the company in 1996 while still in college at the University of Maryland College Park, will transition to a new role as executive chairman and brand chief at the Baltimore apparel brand at the end of the year, the company said Tuesday.
Patrik Frisk, who joined the company as president in 2017 after leading footwear and accessories company The ALDO Group, will step into the role of CEO.
Big day in Baltimore…@UnderArmour CEO Kevin Plank transitioning to executive chairman and brand chief Jan 1, 2020 as current COO Patrik Frisk takes over as CEO. The pair’s first on @CNBC interview coming up on @SquawkCNBC $UAA pic.twitter.com/l1yOVwPKBX
— Courtney Reagan (@CourtReagan) October 22, 2019
In a statement, Plank said this transition is designed to ensure “purposeful leadership continuity” and called Frisk is the “right person” to lead the company.
“Having earned the trust and respect of our teammates, customers and shareholders, Patrik’s proven track record of industry experience, straightforward leadership style and championship of our brand and culture makes him uniquely positioned to smartly capitalize on the opportunities in front of us,” Plank said. “As I envision our future – I look forward to further partnering with Patrik to continue our pursuit of becoming the best athletic brand in the world. I am confident that we are just getting started.”
Since Frisk has been at the company, Under Armour has been undertaking a “transformation plan” as quarter-to-quarter sales began to lag. The company had years of sales growth after going public in 2005. But in 2017, Under Armour posted the first quarterly loss in its history in 2017, and it has since been working to regain footing in North America.
Prior to the ALDO Group, Frisk worked in leadership roles over a decade at the VF Corporation, where he held top positions with Timberland and The North Face.
The news means that the founder of Baltimore’s most recognizable company started in the last 25 years will no longer be its CEO. His story of starting the company out of his grandmother’s basement is well-known lore among local entrepreneurs. A move to Baltimore in 1998 came ahead of big growth, and as the face of the brand Plank frequently champions the city. Plank has also expanded his entrepreneurial efforts in the city, founding a real estate operation to oversee Port Covington’s redevelopment, a whiskey company and other Sagamore brands that are separate from Under Armour.
In the last couple of years, he’s been joined by Frisk when speaking about the company. Now Frisk will lead a company that he said he continues to believe is capable of “unlimited possibilities.”
“The opportunity that lies ahead of us is incredible. As our entire global team continues to lean hard into our transformation, I am honored to lead this great brand toward the realization of its full potential,” Frisk said in a statement.
In an interview with CNBC, Plank said it was his decision to take on the new role and added, “This is not a retirement.” He described a “great partnership” with Frisk, saying that the transition will enable both leaders to focus on their strengths.
“It’ll empower us.. I think it’s going to allow Patrik to make decisions to run the day-to-day and really allow me to make the decisions to continue the vision and think about what’s next for this brand and where we can go,” he said.
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