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Analysts raise concerns about executive turnover at Under Armour

A day after Under Armour announced it would lose two key executives this summer, two research firms are raising concerns about the departures.

Henry Stafford, the Baltimore brand's chief merchandising officer, will leave Under Armour in July after six years, while Robin Thurston, chief digital officer, also will leave in July, the company said Tuesday. Thurston, a founder of MapMyFitness, joined Under Armour in December 2013 when the company acquired the fitness application.

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Brean Capital downgraded Under Armour shares today to hold from buy, and Piper Jaffray maintained a neutral rating on the stock, TheStreet reported.

The company's shares slid more than 7 percent, closing at $39.51.

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At Brean Capital, analyst Eric Tracy said the departures "increase the execution risks facing the company in the near-term," TheStreet said.

At a time when Sports Authority is closing stores as part of a bankruptcy filing, prices likely will drop, said the analyst, adding that he does not expect Under Armour to significantly beat profit estimates.

Piper Jaffray analyst Erinn Murphy worried that executive turnover could derail Under Armour's strong growth.

The company's chief financial officer left earlier this year. Murphy said she has concerns about the company being able to "attract and retain top talent."

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Under Armour said Kip Fulks, who has focused on key development areas for the company since November, will take on merchandising responsibilities on an interim basis. And Michael Lee, a co-founder of MyFitnessPal, will take on Thurston's responsibilities.

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

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