Under Armour founder Kevin Plank stepping down as CEO. Here’s a look back at notable moments during his tenure.

Since Kevin Plank brought his sportswear company Under Armour to Baltimore’s Tide Point in 2002, the company has grown into an international powerhouse employing about 14,000 people globally and more than 2,800 in Maryland. It’s outfitted an array of high school, college and professional teams across the country and become an unofficial uniform for many area residents.

The growth, however, has not come without some controversy and even some pain as it strived to take on industry giants Nike and Adidas.


On Tuesday, the company announced Plank would be stepping down as CEO and will be replaced by current president and chief operating officer Patrik Frisk. Frisk will take the executive reins Jan. 1.

Here’s a look back at some of the company’s notable moments under Plank’s leadership:



Former University of Maryland football player Kevin Plank founds Under Armour from his grandmother’s basement in Washington, D.C. in 1996, and soon gets it first order from Georgia Tech for 48 sweat wicking t-shirts costing $456.

Tide Point move

Under Armour moves a handful of employees to Tide Point a year after the former Procter & Gamble manufacturing plant is remade into an office complex, and the company buys the entire property in 2011 to cement its place in Baltimore.

Port Covington property

In 2012, companies affiliated with Plank’s Sagamore Development Co. start buying properties in Port Covington in South Baltimore, an area that later will become a massive redevelopment project expected to include a new headquarters campus for Under Armour and a collection of offices, residences, shops and restaurants. Its purchases include Baltimore Sun Media’s printing plant, which the news business has a long-term lease on and where its news and business operations also are located.

Misty Copeland

Under Armour says trailblazing ballerina Misty Copeland will lead a marketing campaign to attract more women to the sports brand in July 2014.

Fitness tracking

Under Armour unveils its first line of fitness-tracking devices to go with the brand’s UA Record health and fitness app, including a smart shoe and a system to track activity, sleep and nutrition in January 2015.

Port Covington project

The Baltimore City Council approves a controversial $660 million package for the Port Covington project in September 2016 to finance infrastructure, the largest of its kind in city history, and Goldman Sachs soon takes an ownership stake in the development.

Sales slip

In 2016, sales of Under Armour products begin to slow amid intense competition and changing demand for athletic apparel, and the company begins to report some money losing quarters and its stock price tumbles.

Trump backlash

Plank and Under Armour faced immediate backlash in February 2017 after he praised newly elected President Donald Trump for his pro-business philosophy and called him a real asset. Plank, who had agreed to sit on a manufacturing advisory panel for the new administration, backtracked and said the company engages in policy, not politics.

Investors file suit

Investors file suit in February 2017 claiming Plank wrongly sought to enrich himself in pursuing the Port Covington redevelopment. It’s combined with another suit in 2019.

New president

Patrik Frisk is hired in June 2017 as chief operating officer and replaces Plank as Under Armour president, though the company founder remained CEO and board chairman at the time.

Out of the White House

Plank, in August 2017, quits his spot on the White House manufacturing council, which was later disbanded, after President Trump refused to explicitly condemn white supremacists’ violently clashes with counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Ongoing restructuring

Under Armour says in September 2018 that it will cut its global workforce by 400 workers, 3% of its workforce, by early 2019, as it continued to restructure to better take on rival apparel and shoe companies.


Cyber Town USA

In October 2018, three firms related to the cybersecurity industry announce plans to locate their headquarters at Port Covington, the sprawling $5.5 billion waterfront project in South Baltimore spurred by Plank’s development company. The cyber businesses plan to open by the end of 2020 and form what they called “Cyber Town USA,” though Under Armour has retreated on its earlier plans to move its headquarters there.

Culture questions

As the #MeToo movement swept corporate America, Under Armour found itself in the crosshairs when the Wall Street Journal reported in November 2018 the company fostered a culture that many women found demeaning, including allowing employees to expense visits to strip clubs until earlier that year.

The Journal reported some top male executives violated company policy by behaving inappropriately with female subordinates and that women were invited to an “annual company event based on their attractiveness to appeal to male guests.”

The company responded that it had addressed these “serious allegations of the past,” adding that inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated.

Under Armour plans to open a distribution warehouse on the site of the former Sparrows Point steel mill. (Baltimore Sun video)

New distribution center

In May 2019, Under Armour cuts the ribbon on a high-tech warehouse in Sparrows Point able to accommodate 1,000 workers, the company’s second such distribution center in the region and fourth overall. Officials expect it to usher in a period of growth after a rough stretch for the business.


Continued weakness

In its latest earnings report in July 2019 — three years into a turnaround plan aimed at stabilizing the brand — Under Armour misses quarterly sales forecasts and warned of continuing weakness in its key U.S. market. Losses, however, were lower than the year before, and shares plunged 12% to close at $24.08. They are trading now at around $21.

Baltimore Sun reporter Lorraine Mirabella contributed to this article.

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