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Volume 26 No. 232
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Kevin Plank's Affiliation With MSNBC Correspondent Questioned

Under Armour Founder, Chair & CEO KEVIN PLANK in recent years has often turned to MSNBC's STEPHANIE RUHLE for business advice, but Ruhle's involvement with the company has been "unusual and problematic," according to sources cited by Khadeeja Safdar of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Ruhle has traveled with Plank and UA staff on his private jet and given Plank her "input on a range of business matters." Sources said that Ruhle’s relationship with Plank "left employees unsure how to handle her feedback because many people believed" the two were "romantically involved." Both Plank and Ruhle are married. Sources said that Plank’s relationship with Ruhle last year was "brought to the attention of the Under Armour board after the company uncovered emails that showed an intimate relationship between them." The board asked Plank about the "nature of the relationship and whether company assets were used" and Plank told directors that it was a "private matter and that no company funds were spent." Execs said that Plank took Ruhle’s "advice rather than management’s on how to handle consumer backlash over a key sneaker model" in '16. She also "gave advice on how he should engage with PRESIDENT TRUMP in 2017 that was at odds with some executives who urged" Plank to "keep his distance." UA has "struggled at times to professionalize its workplace as the once scrappy startup has grown into a business with thousands of employees" (WSJ.com, 2/21).