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Volume 25 No. 196
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Plank Says Under Armour Improving Workplace Culture, Diversity

Under Armour received backlash from employees being able to charge strip club visits to expense accounts
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Under Armour Founder, Chair & CEO Kevin Plank said that his company and other large organizations have a “massive opportunity" to use "'this moment in time' to improve the diversity of their workplace cultures," according to Lorraine Mirabella of the BALTIMORE SUN. During an interview yesterday at The Economic Club of Washington DC, Plank was asked about UA's corporate culture, and the company being "in the news recently 'for the nature of inclusion.'" Plank said, “As the CEO, I am fully responsible for everything that happens in my company. What I’m required to do, and what I’m accountable for is the action we take when bad things happen, and I think we’ve been incredibly proactive in terms of issues that arise.” Mirabella notes UA "came under fire earlier this month after it was disclosed that employees were allowed to charge strip club visits and other adult entertainment to expense accounts." Plank said the brand will continue “to invest into our culture and make sure everything is inclusive and it’s diverse and something that is an equal opportunity for anybody who wants to join our brand." Plank: "That’s not just simply a statement. … It’s the best thing for our business" (BALTIMORE SUN, 11/28).

IF THE PRICE IS RIGHT: Plank also said that he "would consider selling" UA for the "right price, but he hasn't seen it yet." He added that he "would have no choice" but to sell the company if "offered the right price because he has a fiduciary responsibility to shareholders." Plank: "If anyone ever offered me an amount of money greater than what I believed I could get the company to, it wouldn't be my choice but it would be my obligation to make the right decision. But I have yet to see that happen so we go back to work every day" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 11/27).

POWER OR GLORY? Plank at the event was asked if he would rather be a great athlete or CEO, to which he responded: "I'd take CEO every day of the week. Maybe not every day of the week. ... You still get hit like in sports, they still write about it afterwards what happens, but you really have four games a year with earning calls and all the hard work is done long before the press release." CNBC's Wilfred Frost responded, "I'm sorry, you can't claim to be a true sports fans and want to be anything other than a top athlete." CNBC's Mike Santolini countered: "No NFL player will have a career as long as Kevin Plank probably or become a billionaire the way he has." If Plank answered athlete then it "would probably seem to denigrate what he was doing and the company he runs." Santolini: "If you ask 20-year-old Kevin Plank, let's hope it would have been a different answer" ("Closing Bell," CNBC, 11/27).