Under Armour is delighted to announce the appointment of Darren Cooke as the new managing director. Cooke is taking the baton from former MD Gareth Kemp who has been running the ship as CEO of Ares Holdings (Pty) Ltd, the appointed distributor for Under Armour, Birkenstock, Crocs and 2xU in Southern Africa since July 2021.
Cooke’s career spans over 20 years with broad and extensive global experience in the retail industry, having led the growth of a leading sportswear brand. His insights include working in the Levant and North Africa region, managing a number of different subsidiaries and overseeing complex export business actively trading in more than 20 different countries. Under Armour is confident in Cooke’s leadership experience to spearhead the evolution and growth of the company.
According to Kemp, “Cooke has significant experience within the industry, having been National Sales Director and subsequently Territory Lead for one of the leading Sports Apparel and Footwear brands. Cooke brings vision, structure, and great determination to our team and we look forward to his leadership driving the strength and growth of Under Armour into the future.”
Cooke commented, “I admire the manner in which Gareth and the team have grown the brand locally in the past five years. I’m certainly very privileged to take the baton and to take us forward. Fortunately I’m coming in at a good time; the brand is at an amazing place at the moment and the industry is doing very well. I’m delighted to say we have very ambitious and exciting plans for the next five years and we are working as a team to realise them.”
The announcement was made at Under Armour’s mental strength symposium, called Through 2021 held in Cape Town. Some of the country’s biggest pro-athletes were in attendance, including gold medalist Tatjana Schoenmaker who set a new world record and nabbed two Olympic medals at the 2020 Olympic games; Ntando Mahlangu who also secured two gold medals at the 2020 Paralympics games; Siviwe Soyizwapi; Phepsi Buthelezi; Rivaldo Coetzee and Kevin Lerena.
The event, which celebrated some of the greatest and most memorable sporting moments of 2021, aimed to highlight and commend the elite mental strength of athletes which allows them to perform at an optimum level. This is a subject that remains at the heart of the Under Armour brand.