MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle, an intrepid journalist with a knack for cultivating sources in the business community, is getting a promotion despite being credibly accused of unscrupulous conduct.
The New York Post reports that Ruhle has been named a senior business correspondent for MSNBC parent company NBC News and will soon make regular appearances on the network's flagship programs, including Today and NBC Nightly News.
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Ruhle, who previously co-hosted the widely acclaimed Velshi & Ruhle with Ali Velshi on MSNBC, will continue to anchor MSNBC programming during the 9 a.m. hour.
The promotion was announced less than a year after the Wall Street Journal published a deeply reported story on Ruhle's unusually close relationship with Kevin Plank, the billionaire founder and chairman of athletic apparel company Under Armour.
Sources told the Journal that Under Armour's board was notified after emails were uncovered indicating that Ruhle and Plank, both of whom are married, were engaged in an intimate relationship. Plank was alleged to have sought business advice from Ruhle, after which he would occasionally overrule the advice of company management. He also traveled with Ruhle on his private jet. A company spokesperson insisted Plank and Ruhle were just friends.
According to the Journal report, Under Armour employees became alarmed after Ruhle took an active role in the company's response to public backlash over the new sneaker the company designed for NBA superstar Stephen Curry in June 2016.
When Under Armour revealed a new sneaker for Mr. Curry, its biggest basketball star, the week of June 6, 2016, some consumers started on June 9 to ridicule the all-white "Chef Curry" shoes on social media. Under Armour employees wanted to react on social media in the first 24 hours, but were asked to hold off on addressing the issue publicly because Ms. Ruhle said she would step in and discuss the shoes on TV, the people said. The sportswear company didn’t respond on its Twitter account on June 9 or June 10. Ms. Ruhle talked about the shoes that weekend on an NBC show.
Ruhle did not disclose her "friendship" with the Under Armour CEO while discussing and promoting the shoes on the Today show. "I really like this shoe," Ruhle said during the segment. "They look an awful lot like a classic Nike or a New Balance. That's a mass-market shoe."