Under Armour Inc. (NYSE: UA) is a leader in the performance apparel market. The Baltimore-based company, founded in 1996, develops, markets and distributes apparel and accessories made of synthetic microfibers that help regulate body temperature and improve athletic performance.
Like many other retailers these days, Under Armour is struggling with the challenging environment brought on by competition from online retailers, especially Amazon. Under Armour announced disappointing Q3 2018 earnings leading up to the holiday season. The performance apparel producer reported $1.4 billion in revenues this quarter, compared to $1.48 billion over the same period last year.
On Dec. 11, 2018 Under Armour notified company employees that Ryan Kuehl, senior vice president of global sports, and Walker Jones, senior director of sports marketing, would be leaving the company. CEO Kevin Plank has yet to elaborate on why the top executives were let go, but the departures followed an internal review of the team that Kuehl and Jones belonged to according to the Wall Street Journal.
Despite threats from Amazon and shifts in leadership, Under Armour remains a powerful force in the athletic apparel industry. As of Dec. 11, 2018, the company had a market capitalization of $9.67 billion. Unsurprisingly, Under Armour's five largest individual shareholders are all current and former executives in the company. (Note: Class C Under Armour shares do not carry any voting rights.)
1. Kevin Plank, Founder and CEO
Kevin Plank is the founder and current chief executive officer (CEO) of Under Armour. He has held the position of CEO and chairman of the board since 1996, and was president between 1996 and 2008. Plank is on the boards of the National Football Foundation, the College Hall of Fame Inc. and the University of Maryland College Park Foundation. Plank’s academic qualifications include a Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland.
Plank is the largest shareholder of Under Armour with 33.8 million Class C shares owned indirectly through a series of trusts, according to the CEO's most recent filing with the SEC on Feb. 20, 2018. Although Plank only directly owns 16,738 Class A shares of the company, he has an additional 34.7 million Class A and Class B shares in stock options, according to the company's Mar. 28, 2018 filing with the SEC. Plank's stake in the Under Armour amounts to 65% of the company's voting power.
2. Patrik Frisk, President and Chief Operating Officer
Patrik Frisk is the current President and chief operating officer (COO) of Under Armor. Frisk brings nearly 30 years of industry experience to Uner Armour, formerly directing such brands as The North Face and Timberland. He most recently served as CEO of multinational footwear company Aldo. Frisk joined Under Armor in June 2017 to replace Kevin Plank as the President. Per an Aug. 15, 2018 filing with the SEC, Frisk owns 611,235 Class C shares of Under Armor, making him the company's second-largest shareholder.
3. Michael S. Lee, Former Chief Digital Officer
Michael Lee formerly served as Under Armour's chief digital officer, a position he held since July 2016. Lee joined the company in March 2015 after Under Armour acquired MyFitnessPal, an app he founded, for $475 million. Lee departed the company with his brother Albert Lee in January 2018 amid a broader restructuring plan. Before starting MyFitnessPal, Lee held leadership positions at multiple start-ups in Silicon Valley. According to the Lee's most recent filing with the SEC on Feb. 14, 2017, he remains the company's third-largest shareholder with 391,998 Class C shares.
4. Harvey L. Sanders, Independent Director
Under Armour’s fourth-largest individual shareholder is Harvey L. Sanders. Sanders has been an independent director of Under Armour since November 2004. Previously, Sanders served as the CEO and president of Nautica Enterprises Inc. between 1977 and 1993. He is a board member of the Boomer Esiason Foundation for Cystic Fibrosis and the Starlight Starbright Foundation. Sanders also serves on the board of the University of Maryland College Park Foundation. According to an Oct. 1, 2018 filing with the SEC, Sanders owns 268,689 Class C shares of Under Armour.
5. Kip Fulks, Strategic Advisor
Under Armour co-founder Kip Fulks has a long association with the company and has held several senior positions over the years, such as managing quality assurance and product development between 1997 and 2008. Fulks is now Under Armour’s strategic advisor, a role he has occupied since May, 2017. Other recent roles within Under Armour include president of footwear and innovation from March 2015 to October 2015, chief operating officer (COO) between 2011 and 2015, and chief product officer from 2016-2017. Fulks is the company’s fifth-largest direct shareholder, with 261,356 Class C shares as of his Feb. 15, 2018 filing with the SEC.