Under Armour's Plank Resigns From President Trump's American Manufacturing Council
Under Armour Founder, Chair & CEO KEVIN PLANK resigned from PRESIDENT TRUMP's American Manufacturing Council yesterday after the president was "widely criticized for not quickly denouncing groups that marched at a white nationalist rally" in Charlottesville over the weekend, according to a front-page piece by Jeff Barker of the Baltimore SUN. Plank issued a statement last night that made "no mention of the president or the weekend events in Charlottesville." Plank: "I am appreciative of the opportunity to have served, but have decided to step down from the council." The statement also said UA “engages in innovation and sports, not politics.” Plank said that he joined the panel in January "because he believed it was important for Under Armour to 'have an active seat at the table and represent our industry.'" Barker notes Plank’s move "risks alienating many Under Armour consumers, some of whom took to Twitter on Monday night to voice their displeasure with his latest decision." However, many also "praised the company." Baker Street Advertising Exec Creative Dir BOB DORFMAN said that Plank’s statement "may have been an attempt to preserve the relationship" he has with Trump. Dorfman: "He doesn’t want to burn that bridge entirely and doesn’t want to make it about Trump per se. I think he’s trying to walk a fine line" (Baltimore SUN, 8/15). In Baltimore, Holden Wilen noted Plank's relationship with the president "has been rocky." He was criticized in February by several endorsers, including Warriors G STEPHEN CURRY, after "praising Trump as 'a real asset for the country.'" Plank "wrote an open letter addressing the issue days later" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/14). Curry this morning "took to Twitter to praise Plank's move" (CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.com, 8/15). ADWEEK's Kristina Monllos noted that along with Plank, Intel CEO BRIAN KRZANICH and Merck CEO KENNETH FRAZIER have "stepped down" from the council (ADWEEK.com, 8/15).
CAN'T MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY: CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin wonders if there are people "who this morning are going to run out and buy Under Armour as a result" of Plank leaving the panel. Sorkin: "I actually think there probably are some, literally just to support what he’s done. On the other hand, there's a huge number of consumers on all sides of this … that may have a different view and very well may not buy the product” (“Squawk on the Street,” CNBC, 8/15).
I love our country & company. I am stepping down from the council to focus on inspiring & uniting through power of sport. - CEO Kevin Plank pic.twitter.com/8YvndJMjj1— Under Armour (@UnderArmour) August 15, 2017