Struggling Under Armour Hires ‘Fresh Eyes’ From Marriott to Lead It
Under Armour named Stephanie Linnartz, president of Marriott International, its new chief executive officer on Wednesday, seven months after Patrik Frisk stepped down from the top role at the sportswear giant.
Ms. Linnartz is the third permanent chief executive in Under Armour’s 22-year history but the second since 2019, when the founder, Kevin Plank, stepped away from overseeing day-to-day activities. Mr. Plank will remain executive chair and brand chief.
“Under Armour is an iconic brand with a huge opportunity ahead,” Ms. Linnartz said in a statement. “This company has immense energy and excitement.”
Ms. Linnartz will take over on Feb. 27, the company said. She has worked at Marriott since 1997, helping to establish its website and app as ways to build customer loyalty. She is also on the board of directors at Home Depot.
“Those fresh eyes are going to be really helpful for Under Armour,” Mr. Plank said, referring to Ms. Linnartz’s experience in the hospitality industry. “We’ve got enough industry experts here at Under Armour. We’re fortunate to have a leader with the perspective that Stephanie is going to bring.”
In the past few years, Under Armour has struggled to maintain the rapid growth that impressed Wall Street in its early days as a publicly traded company. Its stock has fallen 53 percent this year. In November, Under Armour lowered its outlook for the 2023 fiscal year, and several top executives have left in the past few months.
The company now expects revenue to increase at a low-single-digit percentage rate, compared with an earlier forecast of 5 to 7 percent. It also now sees operating income being between $270 million and $290 million, down from the previous range of $300 million to $325 million. In the quarter that ended Sept. 30 revenue increased 2 percent.
Under Armour is focused on winning back shoppers in the 16- to 20-year-old range. According to Piper Sandler’s fall survey, Under Armour dropped out of the top 10 most popular brands for teenagers.
“It’s time for us to put up,” Mr. Plank said. “We went through five years really of restructuring, of getting our house in order, of putting those pieces in place, and the good news through all of that is the consumer is still there for us.”
Colin Browne, who was the interim chief executive, will return to his role as chief operating officer.
“There’s only two hands on the wheel,” Mr. Plank said, referring to the chief executive role. “Stephanie has to be the one to steer the ship.”