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An Open Letter to Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank

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Dear Mr. Plank,

I was in college when I started running, and it wasn’t long after that first foot hit the pavement that I discovered Under Armour. I was pretty well sold on your gear even before I realized we share an alma mater. More than that, I love how involved the company is locally. You sponsor the Baltimore Marathon, the Terps, and even did the wear testing for your new shoes in town. While I do balk at some of the prices and wish you could find a way to set up the manufacturing locally, I still admire how close you’ve stayed to your roots.

Well, sir, this week I learned about the pay cut you took and love you a little more for it.

It takes a lot of mettle to cut your own salary from $500,000 to $26,000 over a little thing like company performance. That number means I made more than you did last year, and I’m a public school teacher. Considering the economic shit storm we find ourselves in, you, sir, deserve a parade. And a statue. And a national holiday. And, how about a postage stamp?

When I look at the arrogant stupidity of other big company executives — the auto makers flying in private jets, bankers giving themselves taxpayer bonuses — it makes me a little gloomy over the state of our country. It’s nice to know that the front page news is not all the news. A bigger deal ought to be made of this, it really should. In a time when the business world seems to be filled with liars and crooks, you, Mr. Plank, are a stand-up guy. Instead of trying to talk your way out of this, you’re taking it on the chin like the rest of us. There seems to be many a CEO in this world who could learn a thing or two from you about integrity and the common touch.

I’m proud to a have a connection with you, however tenuous, through our state and our school, and I am proud to wear your logo.

Yours truly,
Chris Bancells
Runner and University of Maryland alumni, class of 2002

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About Chris Bancells

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    God. Hope that salary can protect his house … from being foreclosed on.

    But how is taking a $474,000 pay cut a good or noble thing? There are a lot of things wrong in the world, but CEO salaries can’t possibly be up there. It isn’t money he stole, or cheated anyone out of. It’s money that was coming his way. I mean, maybe, you take a smaller percentage pay cut? 10 percent? 20 percent? But 95 percent of your salary?

    It leads me to believe that he’s either:

    • So well off in his other investments that he’s still living comfortably and is a PR move, or
    • He’s endangering his family

  • Patrick C.

    u do realize successful people in america have savings they can live off right? maybe that is wat is wrong with america, too many people living paycheck to paycheck

  • Jordan Richardson

    maybe that is wat is wrong with america, too many people living paycheck to paycheck

    Yeah! Ought to be a law or somethin’.

  • Terps

    Plank actually cut his salary to $26,000 a YEAR ago, hoping to make up for the difference in a higher bonus. Because UA didn’t hit their numbers, Plank, true to his word, received no bonus and a base salary of $26,000. Amazing guy.

  • Terps

    Google “Plank” + “salary” “march 28, 2008″ for more articles.

    Here’s one below:

    Plank pay cut

    Under Armour Inc. CEO Kevin Plank has voluntarily slashed his annual salary from $500,000 to $26,000 and has given up his company car. In place of the salary, he gets a bigger bonus pegged to the company’s performance. If the Baltimore sports apparel maker meets its goals, Plank stands to add a $1.47 million bonus to his salary.

  • http://runningbowline.com Chris Bancells

    Of course the man has savings. I wouldn’t expect him, or anyone for that matter, to put his life or family in jeopardy voluntarily. He’s not a social crusader, for pete’s sake; he’s a CEO. I just admire the fact that he lived up to his word and is letting his company’s work dictate how much he makes. It’s a model of behavior which could have saved us a lot of national headaches had more people in his position done something similar. And by the by, the fact that I had to find out about this from a brief article on the Baltimore Sun website should tell you something about the state of journalism in my town. (Also, there was no UA press release about it that I could find)

  • Luis A.

    Dear Mr. Kevin Plank,

    I remember reading about and being inspired how you first started your company solving a problem that no one else had ever addressed in sporting before. After you came up your fabric that wicks away sweat, it seemed like all the other major athletic brands imitated you….they had to…everyone was bored and tired of the same old thing. Your product was new and innovative and everyone wanted it. It’s like the Apple I-Phone: it may be expensive, but it’s such a great product that people don’t care, and eagerly buy it anyways. It has that “got-to-have-it!” factor.

    Although I love your brand and apparel, I noticed that a lot of your products are beginning to blend with the other major name brands. I know that the economy is spiraling down, but that doesn’t mean that you can not introduce something that will excite people once again.

    I am an athlete that had to invent a training product that would help maximize my overall training at the same time instead of isolating one body part per exercise. (I was frustrated because there is nothing on the market that was able to give me what I knew I needed.) Because of my understanding of the body’s physiology and mechanics, it worked as well as I hoped it would with a surprising added benefit. With your permission, I would love to present this idea to you to get your thoughts.

    [Personal contact info deleted]

    Warm Regards,
    Luis A.
    Greenacres, FL