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.
- 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.
- 2014: Plank is honored as Person of the Year at the FN Achievement Awards.
- 2015: FN names Under Armour as Brand of the Year.
- 2015: Under Armour acquires MapMyRun, Endomondo and MyFitnessPal to build its Connected Fitness digital platform. The following year, the company launches Connected Footwear.
- January 2016: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson inks a partnership with the brand.
- February 2017: Plank refers to “pro-business president” Donald Trump as a “real asset.” In the following days, brand ambassadors Copeland, Curry and Johnson respond with disapproval about the remarks. Plank later speaks out against Trump in July 2019 for his disparaging depiction of Baltimore.
- July 2017: Frisk joins Under Armour as its president and COO.
- November 2018: The Wall Street Journal reports Under Armour has questionable culture practices, including employees expensing strip club visits on corporate credit cards.
- January 2019: Plank and Frisk speak exclusively with FN: Plank discusses discrimination concerns among employees and executive departures, among other pressing issues. Frisk outlines plans on how to turn around the challenged company.
- Oct. 22, 2019: Plank steps down as CEO and remains with the company as executive chairman and brand chief. Frisk is named CEO.