By: Madison Clabough
Everyone knows that when you hear or see the brand ‘Under Armour’ you automatically think of Stephen Curry. Kevin Plank, the sports apparel company’s founder and CE, and Patrik Frisk, its president and COO, needed to persuade Stephen Curry- the Golden State Warriors star- and the company’s highest-profile endorser, not to leave the brand. Mr. Plank was unhappy that Curry would rarely wear Under Armour clothing to N.B.A. games, whose endorsement deal pays him millions of dollars a year.
Once expected to be the next Nike, Under Armour has faltered- hurt by slumping sales and unflattering rumors about its corporate culture. But it has since faced tough scrutiny, resulting in lawsuits from shareholders who accuse the company of misleading investors, and media coverage involving the company and Plank’s private holdings. Questions have also arisen about a culture that allowed strip club visits to be charged on corporate credit cards and more recently, a disclosure that federal authorities are conducting investigations pertaining to accounting practices.
When Under Armour was founded in 1996 as a high-tech athletic gear supplier, it had overtaken Adidas to become the second-largest sports apparel company in the United States by sales. Also with its stock (more than) doubling in two years’ time. So far, the company has created apps such as MapMyFitness and MyFitnessPal, losing $700 million in the process.