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Under Armour founder Plank steps down as CEO

A close up of the Under Armour sneakers worn by Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors (by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Under Armour has today (Tuesday) announced that founder Kevin Plank will step down as chief executive, with Patrik Frisk continuing his ascent within the US sportswear and equipment company by being named as his replacement.

In what is being viewed as a surprise announcement, Frisk, currently president and chief operating officer, will become chief executive and president effective January 1. Frisk will report to Plank and will join Under Armour’s board of directors.

Plank, having served as chairman and chief executive since he founded the company in 1996, will become executive chairman and brand chief continuing to lead Under Armour’s board while focusing on product elevation and other aspects of the firm.

Today’s news comes after Plank stepped down from his role as president in June 2017 as part of a major management reshuffle. Frisk joined the company at this time as president and chief operating officer after previously serving as chief executive of footwear and accessories firm the ALDO Group.

Plank said today: “Our multi-year, transition approach has ensured purposeful leadership continuity. Patrik is the right person to serve as Under Armour’s next CEO. As my partner during the most transformative chapter in our history, he has been exceptional in his ability to translate our brand’s vision into world-class execution by focusing on our long-term strategy and re-engineering our ecosystem through a strategic, operational and cultural transformation.”

Since his appointment, Frisk has been tasked with reviving Under Armour’s performance in North America, which has yet to return to growth. July’s financial results noted a 3.2-per-cent fall in revenue for the second quarter, with Under Armour projecting a slight sales decline in North America for 2019.

Plank continued: “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 capitalise on the opportunities in front of us.

“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.”

Frisk added: “I joined Under Armour to be part of an iconic brand that demonstrated the power of sport and premium experience, when properly harnessed, is capable of unlimited possibilities. Today, I am even more resolute in this conviction. The opportunity that lies ahead of us is incredible. As our entire global team continues to lean hard into our transformation, I am honoured to lead this great brand toward the realisation of its full potential.”

Outside of its homeland, Baltimore-headquartered Under Armour this month teamed up with Essendon in a deal that marked its first partnership with an AFL Aussie rules club. The five-year deal named Under Armour as Essendon’s official apparel partner and the company will supply the team with playing and performance clothing, footwear and compression, as well as provide the club’s retail apparel range.