Ceo - Kevin Plank

Topics: Entrepreneurship, Big Five personality traits, Forbes Pages: 5 (1917 words) Published: November 29, 2012
Kevin Plank, the Chief Executive Officer and President of Under Armour (UA), is an entrepreneurial hero that was recently added to the Forbes 400 list. He is also seen on other lists such as Forbes 40 under 40 and America’s 20 most Powerful CEOs 40 and Under. The youngest of five brothers, Plank always had the entrepreneurial spirit and a competitive drive to win. He started shoveling snow at the age of ten and held several jobs throughout his school days. He even had a small annual business, Cupid’s Valentine, which sold roses for Valentine’s Day. Plank says he put away $17,000 from the rose business, which was used as the start-up money for UA. Plank played football for Maryland, and as recalled by his teammates, he wasn’t the “biggest guy” or the “fastest guy,” but the one who “worked harder than anyone.” What he learned over the years on the football field is still used by him and has helped make him one of the most successful entrepreneurs today. In all the stories about Planks childhood, schooling, athletic, and professional careers, he is described as an outgoing, people person. On the Big Five Personality Trait chart, he would be high on extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience. He always wanted to win, was good at motivating his teammates, he got along well with everyone and he was original and daring to take a risk and start up his own business. His internal locus of control probably contributed to him starting his own sports apparel business. Instead of being frustrated and blaming outside forces, he was able to figure out how to make it better and use it to his advantage. The story of Under Armour begins in Maryland where Plank was a walk-on special-teams football player at the University of Maryland in 1995. He was fed up of having to change shirts often during his games and practice because he would sweat so much, his shirts would weigh him down and feel uncomfortable. During his senior year, he was in his dorm room drawing the first UA shirt. His idea was to combine the snug fit of a Hanes cotton T-shirt and the lightness and fast-drying texture of synthetic, stretchy fabrics used in women’s lingerie or compression shorts. His first batch cost him $480 for seven prototypes from a local tailor. He had his teammates at the University test out the ingenious “performance apparel” that would wick the sweat from their bodies and make them lighter and faster. With positive feedback, he ordered 500 more shirts from the New York Garment district and gave them to his high school and college teammates and also mailed them to college and professional football player friends from around the country. Player recommendations were very important to the success of his start-up company. He always emphasized that “making yourself look bigger than you were” is important. Starting in his grandmothers basement, using his $17,000 in savings, running up $40,000 in credit card debt and with great athletes on board he was on course to a successful sports apparel company, which can compete with the likes of Nike and Adidas. Plank noted in 2010: “We went from $17,000 in revenue in 1996 to $110,000 in 1997 to $400,000 to $1.3 million to $5 million to $20 million, $50million, $115, $205, $285, $405, $606, $725 and this last (third quarter of fiscal 2009) quarter $837 million. It’s one of those only-in-America stories that went from 1 employee to more than 2,700 today.” In 2012 the company is worth over $1.4 billon with over 4,000 employees, and is expected to have revenues of over $1.8 billion this year. In the beginning Plank served as both CEO and the entire sales force for UA, selling his performance shirts up and down the east coast out of his car, with his head quarters in his grandmothers basement. Today, he has 63% share in UA’s stocks, and his headquarters in Baltimore, MD with international sales throughout North America, Europe and even some parts of Asia. UA has taken over 3% of the athletic...
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