The Major Moments That Defined Kevin Plank’s Time as Under Armour CEO

Under Armour announced today that Kevin Plank, who founded the company in 1996, is stepping down from his CEO role in January and will remain as executive chairman. The Baltimore-based firm revealed current president and COO Patrik Frisk will be his successor as chief executive.

For the past few years, Under Armour has struggled to find its footing with North American consumers and grappled with internal issues around diversity and corporate culture.

However, in the two-plus decades since Plank founded the company from his grandmother’s basement, he and his team have marked a long string of victories in their mission to gain brand positioning among industry juggernauts such as Nike and Adidas.

Below is a timeline of some of the biggest moments for Plank and Under Armour:

  • 1996: Plank launches the brand, starting with a moisture-wicking T-shirt.
  • 1998: The company moves its operation from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore.
  • 1999: Under Armour products have several appearances in the football-focused film “Any Given Sunday.”
  • 2001: Plank makes several moves in pro sports, including becoming the official supplier of the National Hockey League and signing licensing deals with Major League Baseball and USA Baseball.
  • 2003: The brand releases its debut TV ad, “Protect This House.”
  • November 2005: Under Armour goes public on the New York Stock Exchange.
  • 2006: The company enters the footwear business with football cleats. Two years later, it adds training shoes and then it takes on the running category in 2009.
Under Armour Kevin Plank FN Cover 2008
Kevin Plank’s first FN cover (Dec. 8, 2008).
CREDIT: FN Archives

  • 2006: The brand signs alpine skier Lindsey Vonn as an ambassador. Their partnership has continued through the years, and in March 2019, she becomes a face for UA’s Project Rock label.
  • 2008: Under Armour receives the Launch of the Year award from Footwear News for its debut training collection.
  • 2010: Under Armour surpasses $1 billion in revenues.
  • October 2013: Stephen Curry signs on as a brand partner and subsequently launches his signature basketball sneaker series, now on its seventh iteration.
  • January 2014: Ballerina Misty Copeland is named an Under Armour ambassador.
Misty Copeland Under Armour
Misty Copeland and Kevin Plank on the April 2, 2016, cover of Footwear News.
CREDIT: Axel Dupeux.

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