Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank will step down next year and become executive chairman and brand chief, a company statement said Tuesday.
Plank, 47, has served as the sportswear company's chairman and CEO since he founded the company in 1996 as a University of Maryland football team captain who got tired of his shirt becoming wet and heavy and created a lighter and drier shirt.
In his new role, Plank will be "continuing to lead Under Armour's Board of Directors while focusing on product elevation, amplifying the brand story and stewarding the company's strong team culture," the statement said.
Under Armour President and Chief Operating Officer Patrik Frisk will replace him as CEO effective Jan. 1.
"Patrik is the right person to serve as Under Armour's next CEO," Plank said in a statement. "As my partner during the most transformative chapter in our history, he has been exceptional in his ability to translate our brand's vision into world-class execution by focusing on our long-term strategy and re-engineering our ecosystem through a strategic operational and cultural transformation."
Frisk started taking over the day-to-day management of the company a couple of years ago as part of a three-year transformation plan "to better leverage its digital business," and create more efficiency across the organization.
Frisk listed "lengthy achievements" on the most recent earnings call, such as supply chain optimization and identifying the niche customer.
The company has struggled in the North America market. In the fiscal second quarter, North America revenue fell 3.2 percent, with a "slight decline" forecast for the region's 2019 sales.
Under Armour shares rose 4 percent by Tuesday afternoon.
Frisk was optimistic about the company's future.
"The opportunity that lies ahead of us is incredible," Frisk said in the statement. "As our entire global team continues to lean hard into our transformation, I am honored to lead this great brand toward the realization of its full potential."
Last week, Under Armour unveiled new spacesuits that will be worn by space tourists of Virgin Galactic.