New Under Armour CEO Brings Hotel Background to Apparel Turnaround

Under Armour

Under Armour has named Marriott International President Stephanie Linnartz president, CEO and a board member.

Linnartz will join the athletic apparel brand on Feb. 27, 2023, while interim President and CEO Colin Browne will resume his position as chief operating officer, Under Armour said in a Wednesday (Dec. 21) press release.

At Marriott International — the global hospitality company whose brands include The Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, Marriott Hotels, W Hotels and Westin — Linnartz led the firm’s digital transformation, drove scale through brand innovation, developed sports partnerships and grew its loyalty program, Under Armour Executive Chair and Brand Chief Kevin Plank said in the release.

“As a 25-year veteran of one of the world’s most respected global companies, we are thrilled to welcome Stephanie to the brand,” Plank said in the release. “She is a proven growth leader with a distinguished track record of brand strategy, omnichannel execution, talent execution and development, and passion for driving best-in-class consumer connectivity, experience and brand loyalty.”

Along with her role at Marriott International, Linnartz is a member of the board of directors of Home Depot.

“Under Armour is an iconic brand with a huge opportunity ahead,” Linnartz said in the release. “The company has immense energy and excitement, and I am committed to building growth while maintaining operational excellence.”

Browne has served as interim president and CEO since June. His appointment followed the May departure of CEO Patrik Frisk, who stepped down after two years in the top job after Under Armour saw its stock price cut in half over the prior six months.

As PYMNTS reported at the time, Under Armour was to continue its previously announced sweeping, multi-pronged transformation under Browne’s interim leadership.

Frisk had taken the helm just two months before pandemic lockdowns changed the world and ushered in a period of supply chain disruption. While some of Under Armour’s competitors delivered comparable market declines at that time, others grabbed market share at a time when demand for “athleisure” apparel surged.

Under Armour’s transformation aimed to mitigate supply chain disruptions, grow the direct-to-consumer and eCommerce sales channel and reverse a slump in footwear sales.

During the company’s most recent earnings call, Under Armour executives said the firm was expanding its efforts to offer not only the products athletes wear while playing sports, but also the ones they need at other times of the day.

Browne said during the Nov. 3 call that by adding casual wear to the performance-oriented products it already offered, the firm could open up a $300 billion opportunity.

In Under Armour’s Wednesday press release, Plank said: “Colin is a world-class industry professional and has done a terrific job leading throughout the transition. Highlights include refining our long-term strategy by tripling our total addressable market, validating the renewed growth fundamentals necessary to establish sector leadership and championing our UA team culture.”

For all PYMNTS retail coverage, subscribe to the daily Retail Newsletter.