Under Armour Challenges Nike and Adidas with New CEO Stephanie Linnartz

Under Armour on Wednesday named hotelier Stephanie Linnartz as its new chief executive, banking on her expertise in e-commerce and branding strategy to reinvigorate the apparel maker’s sales.

Facing the challenge of weakening demand due to high inflation, Under Armour revised its annual guidance last month and its stock has dropped more than 50% this year.

The company, whose product lines are endorsed by actor Dwayne Johnson and NBA’s Stephen Curry, is also facing stiff competition from Nike, which had a strong quarter and is working to solve its inventory woes.

Under Armour’s new hire, who will join on February 27, is an outside-the-industry move akin to Nike’s appointment of eBay’s former CEO John Donahoe in 2017 to strengthen its online strategy.

Linnartz, who currently serves as president of Marriott International, will receive a base salary of $1.3 million and a one-time sign-on bonus of $375,000.

Patrik Frisk, who stepped down in June after two years on the job, will be replaced by Linnartz while interim CEO Colin Browne will resume his role as chief operating officer.

Under Armour’s stock fell 2% in aftermarket trading following the news.

Sports fans have their eyes on Under Armour’s new CEO Stephanie Linnartz as she joins the Baltimore-based company with the task of reviving its sales. With her background in e-commerce, branding strategy and Marriott’s digital strategy and membership programs, the veteran hotelier has the expertise to help Under Armour compete with Nike and Adidas AG. Linnartz’s appointment comes as an outside-the-industry move similar to Nike’s three years ago, and her one-time $375,000 sign-on bonus shows the company is betting on her success.