Just days after the abrupt but quiet exit of its top designer, Under Armour has found its new creative force.
The Baltimore-based athletic firm said today it has hired Kasey Jarvis, 20-year footwear and apparel executive, to replace Dave Dombrow, who parted ways with the company this month.
Jarvis, who is expected to join Under Armour in April as chief design officer, most recently served as vice president of product and design for Black Diamond Equipment. Before that, he worked at Nike and General Motors.
Jarvis will report to Kevin Eskridge, Under Armour’s chief product officer.
“[Jarvis’] unique mix of design experience from the auto, footwear and performance equipment industries will help to inform and deliver on our mission to design performance solutions athletes never knew they needed and can’t imagine living without,” company founder and CEO Kevin Plank said in a statement. “This is a leader who will inspire our incredible team to deliver beautiful, innovative design that the world has never seen before.”
Jarvis is joining the company at a pivotal time. It is in the process of trying to turn around its stagnant North American business.
Under Armour in recent months unveiled a new strategy that would get back to its performance-driven roots. Analysts, though, have questioned that approach, suggesting that today’s consumers are far more interested in athleisure footwear and apparel. Additionally, the hardcore performance market isn’t growing as fast as it once was, experts said.
In an exclusive interview last month with FN, Under Armour president Patrik Frisk said the firm would have to “earn back” the business of its retail partners with improved product.
“You have to [earn it back] through more quality product, better innovation, better storytelling and also through the change-out of obsolete inventory versus premium inventory,” he said. “It takes time to wash that out. In our own brand metrics, there’s some good news in terms of what’s starting to happen with the consumer. But I am also experienced enough to know that this is a long game.”
Dombrow was part of that long game. Under his watch at the firm, he was widely credited for creating Under Armour’s popular line of basketball sneakers for NBA superstar Stephen Curry as well as getting the company on track in the running category with such launches as the Charge RC, Speedform Apollo and GeminI.