Ruppe joins Under Armour from Alchemy Global, a sports-and-entertainment investment firm, where he was president.
Ruppe has years of experience in the sports industry. He was CEO of WinForever and worked at Nike Inc. for 25 years. While at Nike, he served as VP and GM of global footwear categories and merchandising, VP and GM of global equipment, and VP and GM of athletic training and field sports. He left Nike in 2010.
Under Armour has made a big footwear push in the past year, debuting its signature Speedform platform last February and the latest version of its Speedform Gemini running shoe — aimed at the specialty running channel — in December 2014.
Kevin Plank, CEO and chairman of Under Armour, told FN that the company aims to build its shoe business slowly and build it right. He added that footwear is one of the greatest potential growth areas for the company and could eventually eclipse apparel sales.
“The good news is that we’ve got this killer apparel business that allows us to be more patient,” said Plank in a December interview with FN. “We don’t have to stick every shoe in the market.”
Ruppe will be charged with developing a commercial and design strategy for the category.
“In a short period of time, Under Armour has proven itself to be a dominant force in the convergence of sports, design and innovation, and I am extremely excited to join this family,” said Ruppe in a release. “I share the brand’s passion for innovation and performance, and footwear represents the leading edge of growth opportunities related to those core values.”