Under Armour names new CMO, SVP of engineering as it ramps up digital focus
- Under Armour has named Alessandro de Pestel as CMO and Ann Funai as SVP of Engineering, per a press release. The company said that the appointments are aimed at helping the brand drive growth through strategic marketing and digital touch points.
- De Pestel, who will handle Under Armour's global brand marketing, most recently served as EVP of marketing, communications and consumer insights for Tommy Hilfiger/PVH Europe. His experience additionally includes working as international communications director for Christian Dior Parfums in France and VP of global marketing for Omega Watches in Switzerland.
- Funai will handle the engineering functions of Under Armour's digital ecosystem, such as its fitness apps and e-commerce functionalities. She was previously CTO at PeopleAdmin, a talent management company, and has worked at IBM in several different areas.
Bringing on De Pestel, who has extensive experience in the fashion industry, could signal the areas where Under Armour is looking to evolve its brand positioning in order to compete in an increasingly crowded athletic apparel segment. Under Armour has struggled to build out a strong brand identity with consumers in recent years even as athleisure and streetwear have become more in-demand, and has subsequently been outshone by players like Nike, Adidas and Lululemon.
De Pestel also takes over Under Armour's marketing duties as the department has been hit by some rocky disruptions. In July, VP of global brand management Adrienne Lofton left the company unexpectedly after three years. The brand's prior CMO, Andrew Donkin, stepped down last November after just 15 months on the job. Last week, Under Armour additionally announced a round of layoffs, with plans to cut 3% of its workforce, or roughly 400 jobs.
As Under Armour works to beef up its e-commerce and digital offerings, along with forging a more distinct brand identity, it will be interesting to see how much a cue it takes from competitors. Its chief rival Nike's latest "Just Do It" campaign featuring the NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who led player protests against police brutality during the national anthem at games, has created a wave of consumer conversation. The ad has proved controversial, but Nike's online sales grew 31% following its rollout, according to an Edison Trends analysis.
Under Armour debuted its largest-ever marketing campaign in April, featuring frequent pitchman Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. The effort was the highest-ranking celebrity endorsement deal among fashion and retail marketers in perception, audience match and risk assessment, according to Spotted research.
Under Armour reported an 8% increase in revenue to $1.2 billion for Q2 2018. North American revenue rose 2% to $843 million and global business increased 28% to $302 million.