Under Armour picks Marriott exec Stephanie Linnartz as new CEO after a seven-month search

Under Armour picks Marriott exec Stephanie Linnartz as new CEO after a seven-month search

December 23, 2022: On Wednesday, Under Armour added that it is hiring Marriott International President Stephanie Linnartz to be its upcoming CEO, capping off a seven-month hunt for a unique boss that the group hopes will grow its digital business.

Linnartz has been with Marriott since 1997 and was one of 60 candidates taken for the position. While athletic apparel is a giant leap from the hospitality business, she is selecting for her digital prowess and success, which started the hotel chain’s online presence, Under Armour CEO and Executive Chairman Kevin Plank.

Colin Browne has served as interim CEO since June after Under Armour’s last top executive, Patrik Frisk, unexpectedly resigned in May. According to a news release, Browne will resume his position as a chief operating officer.

Plank said the firm isn’t looking for a significant change in direction and that it “really” likes the current strategy, but he acknowledged the brand is “not growing nearly we want.”

Under Armour which to build out its e-commerce operations, improve profits and compete with rival brands Nike and Lululemon as it is struggling with low margins, costly litigation and a slashed financial year outlook.

The company is banking on Linnartz’s experience, which leads Marriott’s multibillion-dollar digital transformation to accelerate Under Armour’s online initiatives.

During her tenure at Marriott, Linnartz increases its Bonvoy loyalty programming to 173 million members and delved into the sports world when she is developing multi-year partnerships with the NFL, the NCAA and the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team.

On Wednesday, in a release, Marriott CEO Anthony Capuano praised Linnartz as an “incredible executive.” She will leave the company on February 24, three days before she begins at Under Armour.

“It has been one of the most huge and best experiences of my life to build a career at Marriott,” Linnartz stated in the release.

She is a member of Home Depot’s board of directors. Plank said she would be able to bring that retail background and insight to the position.

Plank said that he will remain brand chief and executive chairman and will continue to be “significantly involved in the business.”

“It will be a partnership. She and I will be partners. We’re not hiding from that,” said Plank.

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