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Pro Analysis

Breakingviews: Under Armour’s founder-led approach wears thin

Kevin Plank, CEO for Under Armour.
Justin Solomon | CNBC
Kevin Plank, CEO for Under Armour.

Under Armour's founder-led approach is wearing thin. The $12 billion athletic-wear maker reported its slowest top-line growth in eight years and signaled more challenges ahead. Its chief financial officer is also bailing. The news wiped a quarter off the company's market value. Chief Executive Kevin Plank's strategy of maintaining power is underperforming badly.

Nearly two years ago Plank set out a plan worthy of Silicon Valley to ensure he remained at the helm of the company he started in 1996. Under Armour changed its capital structure in a move not unlike Google parent Alphabet and Facebook, issuing non-voting stock to offset sunset provisions that would have diluted Plank's control.

He has 65 percent of the vote but only 15 percent of the economic stake, according to Under Armour's latest proxy.