Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank was one of 12 corporate CEOs to score a seat at the White House with newly inaugurated President Donald Trump this morning.
The athletic brand’s founder and chief executive sat among Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of Dell Inc.; Mark Fields, president and CEO of Ford Motor Co.; Alex Gorsky, chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson; and other corporate leaders as Trump promised a “very major” border tax and said he would cut corporate regulations by 75 percent.
“We’re going to be cutting regulation massively,” President Trump said at the meeting, adding that he plans to lower taxes for the middle class and for companies to “anywhere from 15 to 25 percent,” down from 35 percent.
Plank — the only footwear and apparel player in the room — helms multibillion-dollar Baltimore-based athletic brand Under Armour.
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Following Trump’s election win in November, the CEO spoke exclusively to Footwear News, remaining optimistic despite the hurdles Trump’s protectionist rhetoric could potentially create for the brand, which has major global goals.
“This is going to be our president, and we all have to embrace it,” Plank told FN in November. “I hope it becomes a unifying moment for America. I know it feels like this has been a divisive campaign, and that’s really unfortunate and that’s the saddest thing about it. But I hope it proves to be unifying.”
Plank laid out several initiatives his firm has developed to spur domestic growth — including its Local for Local program and its Baltimore-based manufacturing and design center UA Lighthouse — but also remained adamant that he planned to forge ahead with international expansion.
“At any given time, Under Armour is employing anywhere around 350,000 people,” Plank said. “If we’re going to grow our business 50 percent, I can tell you that today, it’s not pegged to have 175,000 of those jobs come back to America. I just wonder if there is a way that we can be more thoughtful, creative and innovative. What if we could bring 100 of those jobs or 500 or 1,000 or 10,000 here?”
Only time will tell whether the CEO’s plans will align with Trump’s aggressive policies and rhetoric aimed at bringing manufacturing jobs back to America.
In 2016, Under Armour brought in $3.96 billion in revenues. In the most recent quarter, the brand’s sales were up 22 percent year-over-year, to $1.47 billion and profits advanced 28 percent, to $128 million.