Under Armour Names Marriott Exec Stephanie Linnartz its New CEO
Under Armour said Wednesday that it has hired Marriott International President Stephanie Linnartz to be its next CEO, capping off a seven-month hunt for a new boss that the company hopes will grow its digital business. Linnartz, who has been with Marriott since 1997, was one of 60 candidates considered for the role. While athletic apparel is a big leap from the hospitality business, she was selected for her digital prowess and success in transforming the hotel chain’s online presence, Under Armour Founder and Executive Chairman Kevin Plank told CNBC. Linnartz will start her new job on Feb. 27. Colin Browne who has been serving as interim CEO since June, will resume his position as COO, the company said in a news release.
Total Retail's Take: While perhaps a surprising pick to lead the athletic apparel retailer, Linnartz's success in driving Marriott's digital transformation, albeit in a different industry, was appealing to Plank and the Under Armour board. Under Armour will be looking to Linnartz to lead a similar digital transformation at the Baltimore-based retailer, which has been challenged recently with reduced margins and costly legal battles. Linnartz comes to Under Armour with some retail experience in her background — she currently serves on The Home Depot's board of directors. She will rely on that experience as well as a close partnership with Plank, who plans to have an active role in the company's future, to help ease the transition from hospitality to retail. And at the end of the day, effectively leading people is a skillset required of any CEO, whether the business is selling hotel rooms or sneakers. Linnartz is out to prove she's the right person for the job.