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Under Armour fills marketing chief position, hires digital executive

Under Armour fills marketing chief position, hires digital executive

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1a-amazon-under-armour-port-covingtonmf05 Under Armour’s marketing department is undergoing another leadership change, but it’s an adjustment the company framed as hiring the right person for the job.

The Baltimore-based sports apparel and footwear maker named Alessandro de Pestel as chief marketing officer on Tuesday. Under Armour also announced Ann Funai senior vice president, engineering.

“We’re excited to welcome Alessandro and Ann to the Under Armour team, two talented senior executives who will help us connect even more deeply with our consumers through powerful engagements and premium experiences,” Under Armour Chairman and CEO Kevin Plank said in a statement.

Plank touted the pair’s diverse global experience and ability to enhance marketing efforts and customers’ digital experience.

Funai will handle engineering responsibilities for fitness applications and e-commerce. Prior to joining Under Armour she worked as the chief technology officer at PeopleAdmin, a talent management firm in the education industry. She’s also worked for IBM, where she developed hardware simulation, firmware, and systems management.

De Pestel will be based at the firm’s Baltimore headquarters. He will lead Under Armour’s global marketing strategy with the goal of boosting brand equity.

Previously he served as executive vice president of marketing, communications and consumer insights for Tommy Hilfilger Global/PVH Europe. He has more than 20 years experience in the field, including working for brands Christian Dior Parfums in France and Omega Watches in Switzerland.

The hiring of de Pestel follows a run of shake-ups at the top of Under Armour’s marketing shop.

Late last year Andrew Donkin left his position as Under Armour’s chief marketing officer after little more than a year at the company. Donkin, who previously worked for Amazon, left the company following a dismal third quarter. That earning’s statement reported a 5 percent decline in revenue to $1.4 billion, which resulted in a 23.6 percent drop in share prices. After Donkin’s departure Under Armour President Patrick Frisk took over as the interim head of marketing.

Adrienne Lofton, the company’s senior vice president for global brand management, left Under Armour in late July to take a position at competitor Nike. Attica Jaques, who started with the company as vice president of global brand marketing in 2016 and was named an AdAge Woman to Watch in 2015, now heads global brand management.

An Under Armour spokesman called bringing de Pestel on as CMO a proactive move to hire the right person for the job.

“Yes, we’ve had some changes but this is a step in the right direction,” the spokesman said.

The change in marketing leadership comes at a delicate time for Under Armour. After years of growth the company has struggled in the past two years and is looking to boost its brand image overseas.

In August 2017, the company announced a restructuring plan. Its goal was to streamline operations following years of nearly unprecedented expansion.

Initially the restructuring called for laying off 280 employees, which represented about 2 percent of its workforce at the time. Last week the company said it was terminating the jobs of 3 percent of its workforce globally, which represents about 400 jobs.

The job cuts come ahead of an important third-quarter earnings report expected late next month. Under Armour’s performance will provide investors an idea of the company’s direction heading into the critical fourth quarter that includes the holiday shopping season.

Part of Under Armour’s struggles resulted from its dependence on the North American market. When domestic sales slumped the company’s performance disproportionately weakened.

Sales in overseas markets represented 26 percent of Under Armour’s revenues in the second quarter of 2018. By comparison, Nike draws 44 percent of earnings from overseas while Adidas pulls 21 percent of its income from global sales, according to Bloomberg.

Apparel and footwear sales in North America, however, have rebounded. That improvement boosted Under Armour’s recent performance.

In the second quarter of 2018 the firm reported revenues were up 8 percent. That resulted from earnings in North America jumping 2 percent to $843 million. International business also surged 28 percent to $302 million.

Under Armour still posted a $96 million net loss in the latest quarter. But that loss beat analysts’ expectations for the company, resulting in a surge in the price of Under Armour’s stock.

On Tuesday the company’s stock started trading at $20.90 a share, closing at the end of the day at $20.44.

The company’s stock prices have remained relatively steady.  At the start of 2018 the firm’s stock price was listed at $15.03. Despite recent improvements, the value of Under Armour’s shares remain far off its all-time high of $53.78 in 2015.

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