Kevin Plank, the charismatic founder of Under Armour, announced today he is stepping down as CEO in January 2020. COO Patrik Frisk has been named as his successor.
Frisk will be charged with leading the Baltimore-based athletic firm into the future during a rough patch dogged by a sluggish stock price, steady executive departures and concerns about its growth strategy.
Frisk joined Under Armour in July 2017 and was immediately tasked with reviving its business in North America.
His strategy, which hinges on returning the athletic company to its performance-driven roots, has come under fire by analysts, who say the prevailing consumer trend is in the growing athleisure market.
“If you look at it short-term and immediate, yes, there is a very heavy athleisure trend right now. But just because you’re in athletic performance doesn’t mean you can’t be an athleisure brand,” Frisk told FN exclusively earlier this year. “But that is not what our focus is going to be. It will be truly bringing authenticity to the brand through solutions that people don’t know that they need and, once they do know, they can’t live without. That has to be our story, has to be how we innovate, by solving problems for athletes. That’s where we began.”
Frisk, now president and COO, will have his work cut out for him. Here are five things to know about Under Armour’s new chief.
Frisk, a 30-year retail veteran, joined Under Armour two years ago after holding top jobs at The Aldo Group and VF Corp.’s The North Face and Timberland brands.
The executive likes signs and an occasional made-up word. At both Under Armour and Timberland, he hung signs with the word “simplicate,” a term he coined that reminds him and staffers to strip everything in business down to its most essential state. He also is fond of the phrase: “If you don’t grow, you die.” Frisk explained its meaning to FN: “That’s not just from a financial perspective. It’s around the growth of the people here internally at Under Armour. We want to make sure we’re giving [people] the opportunity to reach their full potential — that’s really important for us.”
3. The Bosses
Frisk has worked alongside two hands-on, hard-charging company founders who are never short of opinions: Aldo Bensadoun and Plank.
In 2018, he earned a total compensation of $6,285,000 at Under Armour.
5. The Turnaround
Frisk has been highly involved in restructuring Under Armour, helping to kick-start what he and Plank called UA 2.0. Under his watch, processes, workflow, product development and cost savings were improved across the company.
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