Under Armour’s CEO Kevin Plank has repeatedly turned to MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle for business advice, according to a number of company executives, the Wall Street Journal reports. Ruhle’s involvement with the billionaire was problematic because many people close to the pair believed they were also romantically involved, according to the newspaper. Both Plank and Ruhle are married. Several employees told the Journal that the relationship left them unsure how to handle Ruhle’s professional feedback. The news anchor and former banking executive reportedly often traveled with Plank and his staff on the company’s private jet, employees said. According to executives, the CEO took Ruhle’s advice rather than management’s on how to handle backlash over a key shoe design in 2016. She also reportedly gave him advice on how to engage with President Trump in 2017 that was at odds with some executives, who urged Plank to keep his distance from Trump. Plank initially praised the president, but later stepped down from the American Manufacturing Council amid furor over the travel ban.
Plank’s relationship with Ruhle was brought to the attention of the Under Armour board last year after uncovered emails showed an intimate relationship between them, employees told the Journal. The board reportedly asked Plank whether any company assets were used on Ruhle, which the CEO denied.