Under Armour announced Tuesday that company founder Kevin Plank will step aside as CEO as Patrik Frisk, who currently serves as president and chief operating officer, will assume the leadership role.
Who is Patrik Frisk? Here’s a few things to know about the incoming CEO. (And yes, his name is Patrik — no c.)
Veteran apparel executive
Frisk has nearly 30 years’ experience in the apparel, footwear and retail industry. Before joining Under Armour in 2017, he served as CEO of global footwear company The Aldo Group.
Before Aldo, he spent 10 years with VF Corp., where he was coalition president of outdoor Americas with responsibility for The North Face, Timberland, JanSport, lucy and SmartWool brands. He was formerly president of the Timberland brand and before that, president of outdoor and action sports and responsible for The North Face, Vans, JanSport and Reef brands.
He previously ran his own retail business in Scandinavia and held senior positions with Peak Performance and W.L. Gore & Associates.
Other roles included vice president and general manager of The North Face.
He’s been tapped to replace Plank before
Frisk was hired as chief operating officer in 2017 and replaced Plank as Under Armour president, though the company founder remained at the time CEO and board chairman.
Under Armour officials now say Frisk will replace Plank as CEO on Jan. 1 and join Plank on Under Armour’s board of directors.
“I joined Under Armour to be part of an iconic brand that demonstrated the power of sport and premium experience, when properly harnessed, is capable of unlimited possibilities," Frisk said in a statement. "Today, I am even more resolute in this conviction. The opportunity that lies ahead of us is incredible. As our entire global team continues to lean hard into our transformation, I am honored to lead this great brand toward the realization of its full potential.”
Frisk earned $6.29 million in total compensation from Under Armour in 2018, almost as much as Plank’s $6.55 million, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Frisk’s salary of $1 million a year dwarfs Plank’s, which he leaves symbolically at $26,000, what he paid himself in the company’s first year.
Oversaw restructuring, weathered a company scandal
Since Frisk came aboard he has overseen Under Armour’s restructuring, now in its third year, aimed at stabilizing business and reversing a slide in sales, particularly in North America.
After years of rapid growth ended toward the end of 2016, the Baltimore brand is fighting to reverse sales declines in the United States, its biggest market. It’s struggling to keep a performance-based brand relevant in a hypercompetitive sports apparel category dominated by much larger rival Nike and a resurgent Adidas. And it’s trying to control costs and high inventory levels.
He’s also been charged with shifting the culture of the once predominantly men’s brand, which has courted women aggressively in recent years. Company officials have acknowledged a need to transform its corporate culture amid the backlash of the #MeToo movement after it was disclosed employees were allowed to charge strip club visits and other adult entertainment to expense accounts.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Under Armour ended that practice only last year and went on to say the company fostered a workplace culture in other ways that were demeaning to female employees.
In a letter to employees, Plank and Frisk said of the report: “This was tough to read. This is not the culture we envision for Under Armour.”
“We believe that there is systemic inequality in the global workplace and will embrace this opportunity to accelerate the ongoing meaningful cultural transformation that is already underway at Under Armour,” the letter read. “We can and will do better.”