The c-suite is in flux at the hard-charging Under Armour Inc. with new faces in the roles of chief merchandising officer and chief digital officer.
The company said chief merchant Henry Stafford has decided to leave in July. The former chief merchant at American Eagle Outfitters joined Under Armour in 2010, leading its apparel business before serving as president of North America and then rising to his current position in 2014.
“Henry has been an incredible partner and helped us build our brand and tell our story,” said Kevin Plank, Under Armour’s founder and chief executive officer. “First through his leadership in apparel, then by heading up our North America business, and most recently by driving merchandising of our products throughout the world.”
Chief marketing officer Kip Fulks will take up the chief merchant mantle on an interim basis.
Under Armour also said Michael Lee would become chief digital officer. Lee is cofounder of MyFitnessPal, which the company acquired last year as part of an effort to get closer to customers through a connected fitness platform.
The company said Lee “has been a critical leader on Under Armour’s broader Connected Fitness strategy and will help the brand continue to push the boundaries changing the way athletes live.”
He takes the top digital spot from Robin Thurston, who is also leaving Under Armour in July. Thurston joined Under Armour in 2013 when the company bought MapMyFitness
Under Armour executives have proven to be in demand. Nike Inc. this spring hired the company’s senior vice president of design, Dave Dombrow, and said it was willing to wait for him until 2017, when the non-compete clause in his contract expires.
The brand is also looking for a creative director for its women’s business. The online posting for the position gives a sense of the Under Armour culture and the expectations: “The Creative Director — Women’s Brand will lead and direct the women’s brand creative for the most exciting brand on the planet. Emotional, innovative and passionate — The Under Armour brand is the most important product we create. Our brand story is sacred and must be told with uncompromising passion and stellar execution.”
That attitude and the “Protect This House” mantra seem to have served Under Armour well. The company’s first-quarter net income shot up 63.5 percent to $19.2 million as sales increased 30.2 percent to $1.05 billion.
Under Armour expects to hit revenues of $5 billion this year.