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Under Armour co-founder takes on strategic advisor role

Kip Fulks, who co-founded Under Armour with CEO and Chairman Kevin Plank, is taking on the role of strategic advisor to the Baltimore-based sports apparel maker.

Under Armour announced Fulks' new job late Monday in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing and said it took effect immediately. Fulks, who had been the brand's chief product officer, will report to Plank and focus at first on improving the company's efficiency. He has overseen areas such as products, marketing, sourcing and operations.

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The management change is part of Under Armour's renewed focus on improving its products and operations as opposed to launching new categories and expanding retail channels, ideas discussed last month after Under Armour announced its first quarterly loss since going public in 2005. Plank is expected to personally focus on products and go-to-market strategies, Stifel analyst Jim Duffy said in a report Tuesday.

Kevin Eskridge will step into Fulks' former role as chief product officer, overseeing areas such as managing categories, products, merchandising, design and innovation.

"We believe Mr. Fulks' unique breadth of experience in the firm positions him most suitably to identify opportunities to drive efficiency throughout the business," Duffy said in the report. "Perhaps more important, Mr. Plank's refocus on product demonstrates the vision led organization."

Products that will be developed under the realigned management team likely will hit the market in about year, Duffy said. "We remain enthused about brand potential in new categories and geographies," the analyst said.

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

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