It seems that Nike is not the only sportswear giant to make headlines for the bad reasons this morning.
The Wall Street Journal today publishes an article that links the founder and CEO of Under Armor. Kevin Plank with MSNBC anchor Stéphanie Ruhle.
According to WSJ, Plank and Ruhle "have forged close ties in recent years," and Plank considered Ruhle's advice on the company's strategy a little more seriously than his own management team.
The Journal writes:
Some executives said Plank followed Ms. Ruhle's advice rather than management's advice on how to handle consumer reactions to an essential sneaker model in 2016. She also explained how she should engage the president. Trump in 2017, which was contrary to some leaders Mr. Plank to keep his distance.
Ruhle could also have helped Under Armor via her on an aerial platform:
When Under Armor unveiled a new shoe for Mr. Curry, his biggest basketball star, the week of June 6, 2016, some consumers began on June 9 to ridicule the all-white "Chef Curry" shoes on social media.
Under Armor employees wanted to respond on social media in the first 24 hours, but were told to refrain from dealing with the issue in public, as Ms. Ruhle said she would step in and discuss her shoes at television, people said. The sportswear company did not respond to his Twitter account on June 9th or 10th. Ms. Ruhle discussed the shoes of the weekend on a NBC broadcast.
Under Armor noted that his response was not unusual and he sent sneakers to Ms. Ruhle and other influential people to discuss it on television.
"The idea that Mr. Plank only listens to an individual is absurd," Kelley McCormickArmor's communications subgroup, told the Journal.
Plank, who has been friends with many celebrities and renowned media personalities over the years since the creation of Under Armor since its launch in 1996, also reportedly used his private plane , rented by Under Armor, to transport the MSNBC news anchor with him to various locations.
The Journal writes:
Mr. Plank used the private plane to transport Ms. Ruhle, said people familiar with the case. For example, Ms. Ruhle flew with Mr. Plank and Under Armor personnel to or from Cannes, Amsterdam and Austin, Texas. During her trips from Cannes in 2015 and 2016, the plane stopped in Teterboro, New Jersey, and filed Ms. Ruhle, according to these people and these flight records. Under Armor said other leaders also landed in Teterboro during both trips.
Apparently, some UA employees considered his comments unusual or "problematic", and the company's board was informed of Plank's relationship with Ruhle after discovering emails indicating "an intimate relationship between them".
As part of a board investigation, Plank told members that Ruhle 's friendship was a private matter and that no company funds had been spent. It was not possible to determine if the board was taking additional measures.
All this is according to the sources of the Journal.
Ruhle was managing director of Deutsche Bank before becoming a television reporter. She joined Bloomberg TV in 2011 and MSNBC more than two years ago. She interviewed Plank several times while she was hostess to Bloomberg.
Ruhle, a news anchorman and not an opinion leader, should probably address this issue on the air. Maybe she will do it for 13 hours. hour, that she co-organizes with Ali Velshi.
MSNBC declined to comment on the story.