Sports apparel company Under Armour named its first chief operating officer yesterday -- another step in its transformation from a startup that began in the basement of founder Kevin Plank's grandmother's house to a fast-growing company with aspirations to be a major player.
The company announced that Wayne Marino, who had been chief financial officer, is assuming the COO title with responsibility for leading operational, financial, administrative and strategic planning functions.
Brad Dickerson was promoted from vice president of accounting and finance to chief financial officer. Dickerson will oversee the company's finances and work with Marino to position Under Armour Inc. for long-term growth, the company said.
The changes come as the company plans in coming months to launch new shoe categories, expand into other countries and increase its work force.
"It is just a result of the company growing very rapidly," said Brady Lemos, an analyst with Morningstar Inc.. "Kevin Plank may be starting to delegate more. I think that's natural because the business is growing so fast."
Plank, Under Armour chairman and chief executive, was traveling and unavailable for comment.
"Expanding responsibilities for both Wayne and Brad is a great illustration of the depth we are building within our senior management team," Plank said in a news release. "... I am confident we are developing the organizational framework that will deliver against our abundant growth opportunities."
Analysts said the promotions were a natural progression for the company as it continues to aggressively expand.
Later this year, the company plans to introduce a cross-trainer sneaker -- its first shoe for off-the-field wear. It is also increasing its presence overseas. And after opening its first full-price retail store in Annapolis last year, it has plans to open several more.
The company, which has 1,400 employees, expects to outgrow its Tide Point headquarters in five years. About 450 people work at the headquarters and Under Armour plans to hire 350 more.
"As we expand into new categories like footwear and increase our presence in international markets, this new position allows me to sharpen my focus on the operational aspect of our business," Marino said.
It became a publicly traded company in 2005. Facing the scrutiny of Wall Street while growing rapidly, Plank began to look at executives with corporate backgrounds to help run the company.
Under Armour hired Marino from Nautica Enterprises in 2004. Dickerson worked at Macquarie Aviation North America when he was hired as corporate controller at Under Armour the same year.