The Wall Street Journal’s Khadeeja Safdar has a lengthy report out today on the state of Under Armour as the company goes through the process of “grappling with concerns about the treatment of women in the workplace.” According to Safdar’s reporting, several female Under Armour executives have recently left the company, while others have complained about a company culture they see as “demeaning.” A former Under Armour VP called the company “culturally anemic.”
The Journal reports that CEO Kevin Plank’s brother Scott, one of the company’s first employees, quietly left in 2012 after he was accused of sexual misconduct. Plank apparently stocked the highest ranks of the company with his friends, and several women who spoke to the Journal said they didn’t see a way to advance within the company.
Kevin Plank apparently hosts an annual party for “executives, athletes and VIP guests” at his horse farm in Maryland, and several former employees told the Journal that managers “[stocked] the pond” by “[inviting] young female staffers based on attractiveness to appeal to male guests.” Under Armour responded with a statement from Plank that read, “We believe that there is systemic inequality in the global workplace and we will embrace this moment to accelerate the ongoing meaningful cultural transformation that is already under way at Under Armour.”
The Journal also reports that Under Armour sent an email to its employees earlier this year, letting them know that the “longstanding” company practice of expensing work visits to the strip club would no longer be allowed.
Over the years, executives and employees of the sports-apparel company, including Chairman and Chief Executive Kevin Plank, went with athletes or co-workers to strip clubs after some corporate and sporting events, and the company often paid for the visits of many attendees, people familiar with the matter said.
Strip-club visits were symptomatic of practices women at Under Armour found demeaning, according to more than a dozen current and former employees and executives.
You can read the full report over at the Wall Street Journal.