- Under Armour has created a new role, chief consumer officer, that will oversee global marketing, e-commerce and retail, the company announced on Thursday. Massimo Baratto, currently the brand's managing director of the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, will take on the position.
- The aim of the new role is to "oversee all aspects of Under Armour's consumer strategy, delivering a seamless, consistent brand experience," according to the press release. Kara Trent, who currently leads merchandising and planning for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, will succeed Baratto in his role.
- At the same time, the company's Chief Marketing Officer Alessandro de Pestel is leaving come February to pursue other opportunities. The chief consumer officer will effectively replace De Pestel's role, which won't be filled.
Under Armour is rethinking how it sees the customer experience.
"Today's announcement underscores our commitment to delivering an ecosystem capable of deepening our connection with focused performers, inspiring them wherever and whenever they choose to engage our brand," CEO Patrik Frisk said in a statement. "Massimo's global leadership skills, digital expertise, and significant experience building brands through understanding consumer behavior will be a great enabler in strengthening our ability to innovate and enhance our position as one of the world's preeminent athletic performance brands."
Baratto's position as chief consumer officer is in some ways similar to the chief experience officer role that Frisk instituted at the beginning of last year, which was responsible for overseeing "the company's overall consumer experience and digital strategy including its global retail and e-commerce business." Paul Fipps, who held that role, left the company in March.
De Pestel, the company's chief marketing officer, has been in that position since 2018, and Under Armour will not replace him. "Massimo Baratto will be taking over responsibilities for the entire marketing organization, so while the new role of Chief Consumer Officer is not a direct replacement for the CMO position, the new role will oversee those functions," a spokesperson told Retail Dive by email.
The chief marketing officer position has been in flux in the industry as a whole lately as the responsibilities of the position have grown and retailers have in some cases replaced it with other roles, including chief brand officer, chief growth officer or chief customer officer.
"We appreciate the disciplined approach and consistency that Alessandro has contributed during our transformational journey," Frisk said. "By helping us build a holistic strategy around consumer-centricity and significantly elevating our reach to focused performers, Under Armour's global brand consideration is increasing."
In the midst of a turnaround, Under Armour in February said it planned to return to profitability this year. The company has been pursuing a shift to a more DTC-led model in recent years, announcing last fall that it would exit up to 3,000 wholesale doors. By August of this year, Frisk said Under Armour had seen a "significant increase in DTC" and "considerably lower" wholesale sales as part of that strategy.