|Intro||American entrepreneur and philanthropist|
|Known for||Founder and former-CEO of Under Armour|
|A.K.A.||Kevin A. Plank|
|Is||Businessperson American football player Entrepreneur Business executive|
|From||United States of America|
|Birth||13 August 1972, Kensington, United States of America|
|Residence||Lutherville, United States of America|
Kevin A. Plank (born 1972) is an American entrepreneur who founded the sportswear and accesories brand, Under Armour.
Kevin A. Plank was born on August 13, 1972 in Kensington, Maryland, to William, a known Maryland land developer, and Jayne (née Harper) Plank, a former mayor of Kensington, Maryland. Her mother later worked in Ronald Reagan's office, directing the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs at the United States Department of State.
Kevin is youngest of five brothers.
Plank attended Georgetown Preparatory School, a prestigious Catholic school in North Bethesda, Maryland. He left the school due to poor academic performance and behavioral issues and joined St. John's College High School, a private catholic school in Washington, D.C., from where he graduated in 1990.
Growing up, Plank played football with the Bethesda-based Maplewood Sports Association. Later, he played football for a year at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia, attempting, unsuccessfully, to get recruited by a top-tier collegiate football programs.
He got accepted at the University of Maryland, College Park and played football there. He graduated in 1996 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. At the university, Darren Drozdov, a professional wrestler and football player, was his roommate. They remained friends after they left the university. In October 1999, Drozdov suffered a severe neck injury during a match with D'Lo Brown during a WWF SmackDown! at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. The accident left Drozdov quadriplegic and Plank personally financed his customized wheelchair.
Towards the end of his graduation at the University of Maryland, Plank formed a small business called Cupid's Valentine, which sold roses on Valentine's Day. The business earned him $3,000.
At the university, he was athletically active and played football for the Maryland Terrapins. He noticed that the available t-shirts in the market do a poor job of wicking the sweat from athlete's body. At that point, he went on a quest to create better t-shirts for athletes and active people.
After graduating from the University of Maryland in 1996, he started the business using a small business loan and the three thousand dollars he made from his rose-selling business, Cupid's Valentine. He initially named his new sportswear business Heart, but was unable to trademark it. Then he named it Body Armor, which also he was unable to trademark. One day, his brother asked him, "How's that company you're working on... Under Armor?" The name stuck with Plank and he chose Under Armor as the name of the brand. However, he went with the British spelling, "Armour", as he believed that the additional "U" made the phone number fit nicely in the American phone number system (888-4ARMOUR versus 888-44ARMOR.)
In the early days Under Armour, Plank worked out of his grandmother's town house in Georgetown and sold t-shirts from his car. He gave t-shirts to his football-playing friends and would request them to spread the word around. In the first year, 1996, he made $17,000 in sales.
Plank was officially in business and hired people to help him run the company. However, the company struggled financially in the coming days. Plank wanted to invest in marketing and advertising, however by the end of 1999, the company had nearly run out of money. He wanted to place an advertisement in the ESPN magazine, which would cost Under Armour $25,000. Considering it could be a worthwhile investment, his employees agreed to work without paychecks for a few weeks to cover for the costs of the ad. They placed the ad and the buzz generated turned around the struggling business. The following year, the company made over a million dollars in direct sales. Big athletes began buying the product which further elevated the brand's image. The company's uphill trajectory continued and in 2010, they reached $1 billion in annual revenue.
Plank's net worth had reached over $1 billion in 2011.
In the years 2014-2016, Under Armour spent close to $1 billion in acquiring digital businesses –– specifically the fitness and nutrition focused mobile apps. The strategy was a success, earning the company the world's largest digital health-and-fitness community, with 150 million users.
By December 2017, Under Armour was generating over $5 billion USD in annual revenue and had over 15,000 employees.
The brand has been worn by big name athletes including Stephen Curry, Tom Brady, Cam Newton, Carey Price, Misty Copeland, Michael Phelps, Dwayne Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Bryce Harper, and Lindsey Vonn.
In addition to being the CEO of Under Armour, Plank is a member of the board of trustees for the National Football Foundation.
In 2007, Plank bought the 630-acre historic Sagamore Farm in Baltimore County, Maryland. The property was once owned by Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt. Plank's goal was to restore the farm and rejuvenate Maryland's horse racing tradition by raising a Triple Crown winning horse. The investment turned out to be a success; in November 2010, Sagamore Farms' Shared Account won the $2 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (GI). There are about 100 horses on Sagamore farm, with about 40 actively training as of July 2017.
Beginning in 2013, Plank's real estate firm, Sagamore Development, was leading a $5.5-billion mixed-use development project in Baltimore's Port Covington area. The company had acquired approximately 235 acres in the area and planned to build a mix of offices, residential areas, retail space, parks, boat launches and more.
In 2013, Plank founded Sagamore Spirit Distillery, a whiskey distillery in Baltimore, Maryland. Although his and his partner's initial plan was to create a vineyard, being a whiskey enthusiast, Plank insisted his team research and develop whiskey. Its first bottles were sold at stores in 2016.
Sagamore Pendry Hotel
In the spring of 2017, Plank opened Sagamore Pendry Hotel in Fells Point, Baltimore. Recreation Pier building, the structure that houses the hotel, was built in 1914 to store port cargo. Later, it transformed into a community center and studio for the television series Homicide: Life on the Street. The building was closed in 1999 and had been vacant until Plank purchased it and renovated it for Sagamore Pendry Hotel.
Plank also bought and revamped the water taxi in Inner Harbor.
Plank is active within the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., communities, as a member of the Greater Baltimore Committee and Greater Washington Partnership. he donated $1 million through The Cupid Foundation to the Baltimore-based CollegeBound in 2016. The next year, his charitable arm funded 40 summer jobs for Cherry Hill, Baltimore, public school students in the maritime transport industry.
He is also a member of the Board of Trustees for Living Classrooms, a Baltimore-Washington based non-profit organization dedicated to the hands-on education of young people using urban, natural and maritime environments as “living classrooms". Through his Cupid Foundation, Plank donated $5 million to help create the UA House at Fayette, an East Baltimore community center run by Living Classrooms.
Plank has been a long-time supporter of the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business and Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship. In addition to sitting on the University’s Board of Trustees, he played an integral role in the development of an endowment fund that the Dingman Center uses to invest in viable startup businesses. He is also responsible for the development of the Cupid's Cup business competition. The competition got its name from his “Cupid's Valentine” rose business he began while attending the University.
In November 2014, Plank pledged $25 million to the University of Maryland to be used for the proposed athletics and academic complex. The project has converted Cole Field House, the school's former basketball arena, into the football facility, a sports medicine center and student entrepreneurship lab. In 2015, Plank pledged $16 million to St. John's College High School in Washington, DC, to fund athletics, academics and entrepreneurship initiatives. Plank donated $1 million to the Archdiocese of Baltimore in 2016 to help 100 more children go to Catholic school.
Plank married his wife, Desiree Guerzon, in 2003. They have two children and the family lives in Lutherville, Maryland.
Before moving to Lutherville, he lived in the Georgetown area of Washington, DC.
Resignation from Under Armour
On 22 October 2019, the company announced that Plank is resigning from the post of CEO of Under Armour. The current Chief Operating Officer Patrik Frisk will assume the position of the CEO on January 1, 2020. Plank will serve as an executive chairman and brand chief.
Politics and controversies
According to the Federal Election Commission, Plank has donated to both major U.S. political parties and to individuals of both parties. On CNBC's Halftime Report in February 2017, Plank commented on Donald Trump's pro-business philosophy, saying the president was a "real asset" to the business community. Plank's comments drew criticism on social media. As some customers vowed to boycott the brand, three major endorsers—Stephen Curry, ballerina Misty Copeland, and actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson—went on Twitter to express their opposition. Johnson called Plank's words "divisive". In the days following the remarks, Plank bought a full-page advertisement in The Baltimore Sun to clarify his comments. In the ad, Plank said Under Armour stood for job creation, but publicly opposed the president's proposed travel ban.
Plank sat on the President Trump's American Manufacturing Council. He stepped down from the council following President Trump's comments on violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, saying Under Armour "engages in innovation and sports, not politics". Additionally, he publicly opposed President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord and was among the Fortune 500 CEOs to sign a pledge to promote workplace diversity and inclusion.
- No. 4 on America's 20 Most Powerful CEOs 40 and Under
- No. 24 on Sports Illustrated's Most Powerful People in Sports
- Person of the Year by Footwear News
- No. 21 on 50 Most Influential People in Sports Business by Sports Business Journal
- No. 15 on Top People in Business by Fortune
- No. 23 on 50 Most Influential People in Sports by Sports Business Journal
- No. 36 on Businessperson of the Year by Fortune
- No. 66 on The Power List by Adweek
- No. 16 on 50 Most Influential People in Sports Business by Sports Business Journal
- No. 37 on Businessperson of the Year list by Fortune
- Game Changer by Men's Fitness
- No. 26 on Power 100 Most Influential Designers, Influencers and Leaders in the Shoe Industry by Footwear News
- No. 6 on 50 Most Influential People in Sports by Sporting News
- No. 63 on Power List by Adweek
- Hall of Champions award by the U.S. Small Business Administration
- Achiever of the Year by Success Magazine
- Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company
- Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Famer
|Article Title:||Kevin Plank: American entrepreneur and philanthropist - Biography and Life|
|Author(s):||PeoplePill.com Editorial Staff|
|Publish Date:||03 Jan 2017|
|Last Update Date:||14 Feb 2020|
|Date Accessed:||09 Jul 2020|