Under Armour CEO to Leave Trump Manufacturing Council -- Update

By Sara Germano Features Dow Jones Newswires

Kevin Plank, the founder and chief executive of Under Armour Inc., said he would step down from a White House manufacturing-advisory council, the second CEO to depart the forum in the wake of President Donald Trump's response to violent demonstrations.

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"Under Armour engages in innovation and sports, not politics," Mr. Plank said in a statement posted on Twitter late Monday.

The move followed a decision by Merck & Co.'s chief executive earlier Monday to resign from the manufacturing council in response to the president's failure to quickly condemn the white supremacists who marched and waged violence in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.

Kevin Plank, the founder and chief executive of Under Armour Inc., said he would step down from a White House manufacturing-advisory council, the second CEO to depart the forum in the wake of President Donald Trump's response to violent demonstrations.

"Under Armour engages in innovation and sports, not politics," Mr. Plank said in a statement posted on Twitter late Monday.

The move followed a decision by Merck & Co.'s chief executive earlier Monday to resign from the manufacturing council in response to the president's failure to quickly condemn the white supremacists who marched and waged violence in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.

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There are several dozen executives on the council, which was formed in January to help the Trump administration create U.S. manufacturing jobs. Mr. Plank said Monday he had joined the council to have "an active seat at the table" to help improve American manufacturing. Like other major sportswear makers, Under Armour makes most of its products overseas, although its largest sales market is the U.S.

"I love our country and our company and will continue to focus my efforts on inspiring every person that they can do anything through the power of sport which promotes unity, diversity and inclusion," Mr. Plank said in the tweet.

Mr. Plank was caught in a social media firestorm after a television interview in February in which he said he respected President Trump's willingness to make bold decisions and praised him as "a real asset to the country." That comment was criticized by several Under Armour athletes, including basketball star Stephen Curry and ballerina Misty Copeland, who viewed it as insensitive in the wake of President Trump's proposed travel ban on several mostly Muslim nations. The sportswear executive later took out a full-page ad in the Baltimore Sun saying Under Armour supports immigration and equal rights.

Earlier Monday, Under Armour posted a comment attributed to Mr. Plank on its Twitter account which read, "We are saddened by #Charlottesville. There is no place for racism or discrimination in this world. We choose love & unity."

Write to Sara Germano at sara.germano@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 14, 2017 22:02 ET (02:02 GMT)