Under Armour’s C-suite is turning into musical chairs much to the dismay of Wall Street.

The athletic apparel giant’s shares dropped 12% last week after announcing that founder Kevin Plank would replace CEO Stephanie Linnartz, who is stepping down after assuming the role in February 2023.

“As the company continues to navigate several post-pandemic consumer, industry and brand-specific factors, we’re working hard to reconstitute our strengths and make thoughtful, balanced business decisions to drive enduring success for athletes, customers and shareholders,” Plank says. “I’m energized about the team we’ve put into place and look forward to seizing the opportunities ahead.”

CEO Timeline

At the dawn of 2020, Plank stepped down as CEO of the Baltimore-headquartered company, but remained chairman of the board.

  • However, his successor, former ALDO Group CEO Patrik Frisk, resigned just two years later.

Linnartz, a former Marriott International executive who earned acclaim for building out the hotel giant’s Bonvoy loyalty program, was then named CEO. During her year-long tenure, she launched Under Armour’s UA Rewards loyalty program and incorporated a more athleisure-focused assortment with more options for women, CNBC reported.

“I feel honored to have served as Under Armour’s president and CEO and worked with many incredible teammates who care deeply about the company’s purpose and mission,” Linnartz says. “I’m proud of our progress against our strategic plan, including strengthening our team, evolving our products and marketing and increasing our focus on profitability. We have a strong foundation in place for future growth and the company’s potential is limitless. I’ll continue to root for Under Armour’s success.”

On April 1, Plank will officially replace Linnartz, who will remain an advisor to the company through April 30.

  • Mohamed A. El-Erian, an independent director since 2018 and lead director since 2020, will become the non-executive chair.

Analyst Reaction

Following the announcement, both Williams Trading and Evercore ISI downgraded Under Armour and lowered their price targets, according to CNBC.

  • Williams Trading switched to a “hold” rating from a “buy” rating and lowered its price target from $11 to $8.
  • Evercore downgraded the company to an “underperform” rating from an “in line” rating and lowered its price target from $8 to $7. 

In its downgrade, Evercore ISI said Plank’s return to the company was a “clear signal” that the strategy wasn’t working. “We think the most likely scenario Mr. Plank will pursue will include efforts to accelerate a return to North America revenue growth … which we think will add significant risk to the brand longer-term,” analyst Michael Binetti wrote. 

Linnartz’s imminent departure is “emblematic of a brand that can’t quite decide which direction it wants to go in,” retail analyst and GlobalData managing director Neil Saunders told CNBC.

“Under Armour has already been through several rounds of change as it tries to address declining sales and issues with the brand but, as the latest set of poor quarterly results show, it has not yet found a successful path to rebuilding the business,” Saunders said.

Analysts from William Blair wrote that “with about two-thirds of leadership new to Under Armour in the past year, the departure of Linnartz poses some risk that Under Armour could undergo more changes in key roles, which could push out our hope for rebounding domestic revenue growth in fiscal 2026 given inherent product lead times if key leadership changes.”

  • Under Armour’s revenue decreased 6% during the holiday quarter due to soft demand in North America and a slowdown in wholesale orders, the company said in its most recent financial report.