Under Armour Names Stephanie Linnartz New CEO

Under Armour is appointing Stephanie Linnartz as its new president and chief executive officer, filling a gap that has been vacant since last May.

Currently president of Marriott International, she's expected to start her new role in late February. She will also serve as a member of its board of directors.

In its announcement, Kevin Plank, Under Armour executive chair and brand chief, praised her innovation and transformation skills.

"She is a proven growth leader with a distinguished track record of brand strategy, omnichannel execution, talent acquisition and development, and passion for driving best-in-class consumer connectivity, experience, and brand loyalty," he says.

Last spring, then-CEO Patrik Frisk stepped down abruptly after two years, with Colin Browne, chief operating officer, stepping in as interim chief.



With Linnartz's appointment, Browne is scheduled to resume the COO role.

Linnartz, who has spent the last 25 years at Marriott, takes the reins of the Baltimore-based company at a difficult time.

David Swartz, an analyst who follows the company for Morningstar, calls Linnartz "a surprising choice" in his note on the new appointment. "An industry outsider," he says, "making the switch to a sportswear firm like Under Armour will be a significant adjustment. She likely got the job based on her role in developing Marriott's digital strategy and membership program, which boasts 173 million members."

He adds that Linnartz "could bring a new perspective to Under Armour's women's business, which has been something of an afterthought."

At the time of Frisk's departure, Plank said he wanted a CEO with more of a growth mindset. That means the company "will need to improve its product, distribution, and geographic diversity," Swartz adds.

In results released last month, the company released underwhelming second-quarter results. For the second quarter of its fiscal year, revenue rose 2% to $1.6 billion, a 5% gain in neutral currency. And while its wholesale revenues added 4% to $948 million, D2C sales dropped 4% to $577 million, with sales at its owned and operated stores falling 9%.

North American sales slid by 2% by region, while international sales increased by 7%. And by category, footwear notched a 14% gain to $376 million. But apparel sales decreased by 2% to $1 billion.

Net income fell to $87 million from $113.4 million in the comparable period of 2021. The company trimmed its forecast for revenue for the months ahead to the low single-digit, down from an earlier prediction in the 5% to 7% range, citing the challenging retail environment.

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