SBJ/March 10-16, 2014/Forty Under 40

Forty Under 40: Henry Stafford


COURTESY OF UNDER ARMOUR

Henry
Stafford

Company: Under Armour
Title: President, North America
Age: 39
Where born: Pittsburgh
Education: University of Michigan (bachelor’s, political science)
Career background: Abercrombie & Fitch, 1996-98; Old Navy, 1998-2003; American Eagle Outfitters, 2003-10; Under Armour, 2010-present
Family: Children Charlie and Sophia (both 8)

Favorite app: MapMyRun.
Favorite way to unwind: Spend time with my kids; that puts everything in perspective.
Guilty pleasure: ’80s music.
Worst habit: Driving too fast.
Cause supported: Children’s Institute of
Pittsburgh.
Most adventurous thing I’ve ever done is … : Whitewater raft the Ganges River in Rishikesh, India.
2014 will be a good year if … : We execute.

When comparing himself to the former college athletes who sit with him at Under Armour’s executive table — three Maryland football players, a Maryland lacrosse player and a St. John’s basketball player, to name a few — Henry Stafford humbly describes himself as “representing the intramural group.”

On the contrary, Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank, who hired Stafford in 2010, considers him a standout at the table and on the court. “He’s an amazing basketball player; a great point guard,” Plank said. “Henry has a certain confidence and swagger.”

That “swagger” and talent have guided Stafford through a career that included time with well-known brands Abercrombie & Fitch, Old Navy and American Eagle Outfitters before coming to Under Armour. “Wholesale, retail, all of that,” Stafford said, “Honestly, it’s all business. I believe in brands.”

In his initial role at Under Armour, as senior vice president of apparel, Stafford was responsible for men’s, women’s and youth apparel for all steps from concept to market. He led a team of 150 people through all phases, including

SBJ Podcast:
Executive Editor Abraham Madkour and project editor Mark Mensheha talk about the Forty Under 40 selection process and the class of 2014.

design, innovation and eventually retail execution. He spearheaded launches in a multitude of categories, too, including products like Charged Cotton and ColdBlack, technology and innovation like Armour39, and retail experiences like the first Under Armour specialty store in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

The Under Armour brand, much in the headlines during the recent Winter Olympics, has become synonymous with a certain edginess, and the company’s efforts are frequently the subject of both cultural and industry chatter. But there’s been notable growth, as well. After Stafford’s arrival at Under Armour in 2010, the company’s apparel revenue grew at a 31 percent annual clip in both 2010 and 2011. That success ultimately led Stafford to his newly created position, which he assumed in October 2013. In that current role, Stafford reports directly to Plank and is in charge of wholesale, retail marketing, global retail and e-commerce. He is the direct report for a handful of high-level executives within Under Armour.

“The highest compliment I can give someone is that they are a professional,” Plank said. “And Henry is a pro.”

— Tara Baird

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