Under Armour CEO Praises President Trump, Calls Him "Real Asset" to Country
It's the latest news among politically jousting American fitness brands.
A potential boycott does not seem to worry Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank.
When asked about his involvement with President Donald Trump's Manufacturing Jobs Initiative during an interview Wednesday with CNBC's Scott Wapner on Fast Money Halftime Report, Plank replied, "To have such a pro-business president is something that is a real asset for the country. People can really grab that opportunity."
He continued, "I'm a big fan of people that operate in the world of 'publish and iterate' versus 'think, think, think, think, think.' So there's a lot that I respect there."
Following the interview, Under Armour issued a statement to Business Insider regarding Plank's comments:
"At Under Armour, our culture has always been about optimism, teamwork, and unity. We have engaged with both the prior and the current administrations in advocating on business issues that we believe are in the best interests of our consumers, teammates, and shareholders. Kevin Plank was recently invited at the request of the President of the United States to join the American Manufacturing Council as part of a distinguished group of business leaders. He joined CEOs from companies such as Dow Chemical, Dell, Ford, GE, and Tesla, among others, to begin an important dialogue around creating jobs in America. We believe it is important for Under Armour to be a part of that discussion."
The statement goes on to reiterate that the company "engage[s] in policy, not politics," and that Under Armour believes in "advocating for fair trade, an inclusive immigration policy that welcomes the best and the brightest and those seeking opportunity in the great tradition of our country, and tax reform that drives hiring to help create new jobs globally, across America and in Baltimore.
"We have teammates from different religions, races, nationalities, genders, and sexual orientations; different ages, life experiences, and opinions," the statement continues, echoing the pro-diversity sentiments put forth by Nike CEO Mark Parker. "This is the core of our company. At Under Armour, our diversity is our strength, and we will continue to advocate for policies that Protect Our House, our business, our team, and our community."
Plank isn't the only business leader to speak positively about the President's impact on business specifically. LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault told press last month that he believes Trump's policies will be good for his companies' American business. However, he warned that things could take a turn for the worse in the long term, as is the nature of the economy.
More and more, businesses appear to be taking a stand politically with regards to the Trump presidency, sometimes directly — as Parker did when he tweeted that Nike was in firm opposition of the President's immigration ban — and others indirectly, as Kering CEO Francois-Henri Pinault appeared to do with a vaguely worded tweet about diversity just days after the immigration ban was put into place.
Just this morning, President Trump tweeted his disapproval of Nordstrom, which is dropping his daughter Ivanka Trump's eponymous apparel label citing falling sales. The department store's stock briefly faltered following the tweet before swiftly recovering. Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus and other retailers have been subject to the #GrabYourWallet boycott for carrying Ivanka's line.
Athletic giants like Nike and Under Armour, as well their competitors, with massive manufacturing costs and global brand strategies, have been caught up in politics since the beginning of the presidency. Two days after the election, New Balance came under fire after its vice president of public affairs praised Trump's stance on the since-scrapped Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Shortly thereafter, angry customers took to social media to show themselves trashing and even setting fire to their New Balance sneakers. Reebok capitalized on the situation by offering free sneakers to all those customers who trashed their New Balances.