Mad Money

Under Armour CEO: 2018 will be one of the most important chapters in our 22-year history

Key Points
  • "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer sits down with Kevin Plank, the founder, chairman and CEO of Under Armour, to hear about his athletic brand's turnaround.
  • Plank highlights three things that his company did in 2017 to ensure smoother sailing for 2018.
Under Armour's Plank: This year one of the most important in our 22-year history

Since Under Armour delivered its fourth-quarter earnings report, investors have been wondering whether the athletic brand has recaptured some momentum after months in limbo.

If you ask Kevin Plank, the athletic brand's founder, chairman and CEO, 2017 was a transformative year that will refocus Under Armour and propel it to new heights.

"We did three major things in 2017," Plank told "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer in an exclusive interview with CNBC. "We upgraded our systems; we implemented SAP, so we're never going to have to do that again. We have the scale of a great company that can give us that pliability as a business to be able to grow forever."

"We changed our structure, so we went from [having] a head of apparel, a head of footwear, a head of accessories to ... [having] distinct categories, like a head of running, a head of training, a head of basketball."

Paired with Under Armour's burgeoning international presence, these changes will bring Under Armour closer to its consumers, Plank argued on Wednesday.

"We have a company that's a culture that's incredibly proud, and this chapter, '17, that we lived through and what we're doing in '18 will prove to be one of the most important chapters that we've had in our 22-year history," he said.

On the post-earnings conference call, Plank said one of Under Armour's goals was to become a "quiet company with a loud brand."

To help achieve that goal, Under Armour recruited Patrik Frisk, formerly of Aldo and VF Corporation, as its new president. Plank told Cramer that Frisk's years of experience have come in handy in developing Under Armour's go-to-market and franchising strategies.

Plank also highlighted the wealth of consumer data Under Armour receives through its online health-focused platforms like MyFitnessPal.

Since the start of 2018, users have logged more than 99 million workouts, 137 miles run and over 130,000 pounds lost on Under Armour's platforms, Plank said.

"What ... you'll hear from us is our focus on performance," the CEO told Cramer. "Some people say that many be a weakness for us. We believe it will prove to be our long-term greatest strength."

But having learned the lessons he did in 2017, Plank was hesitant to over-promise results for Under Armour's stakeholders.

"To level-set the expectation, we're one of three brands, now four brands, that has actually crossed that $5 billion threshold," Plank said, referring to the company's revenues. "So we are on the precipice of saying that we have the ability to be one of the great athletic brands."

Watch Kevin Plank's full interview here:

Under Armour CEO: 2018 will be one of the most important chapters in our 22-year history

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