Kip Fulks, who co-founded Under Armour with CEO Kevin Plank, is taking a sabbatical, said the company. Officials declined to provide details but said Fulks isn’t leaving the Baltimore-based sports brand.
Fulks is exercising a benefit available to all Under Armour employees with 10 or more years of service, said the company. His leave comes during a period of transition for Under Armour, which has been seeking efficiencies and announced in August that it was cutting about 280 jobs — 2 percent of its global workforce.
On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Under Armour was considering exiting some relatively small sports categories such as tennis. The company declined comment on the report, saying it is in the “quiet period” limiting the release of information in advance of an earnings report.
Under Armour is due to release its third-quarter earnings Oct. 31.
The company has been coping with increased competition from rivals such as Adidas and lower-priced apparel manufacturers, as well as the loss of Sports Authority — once a prime retailer — and changes in buying habits amid the rise of online shopping. In August, Under Armour revised its full-year sales forecast. Because of a slowdown in business in the U.S. and Canada, sales are expected to grow 9 percent to 11 percent, instead of as much as 12 percent, as previously anticipated.
Under Armour, which was founded in 1996, makes products for all major sports, and activities as diverse as running, hunting, tennis, working out and going to the mall. It sells tennis apparel, shoes and accessories and its endorsers include former two-time Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion Andy Murray and 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens.
Fulks met Plank while both were University of Maryland students. Fulks has held several roles, including chief product officer and, more recently, a strategic adviser.