Chris Clawson has left his position as president of the Life Fitness Division of Brunswick Corp., Lake Forest, Illinois, effective immediately, according to a company announcement released on Wednesday. Jaime A. Irick is the new president and will report to Brunswick Chairman and CEO Mark D. Schwabero.
The announcement did not offer a reason for Clawson's departure, but Clawson shared with Club Industry in an email: "I am sad to leave the Life Fitness Team, but as I've been telling myself and others for the past day, 'As one door closes, others will surely open!' I love the fitness industry and have scores of friends across the globe after three decades."
Clawson became president of Life Fitness in 2010. His appointment was a return to Life Fitness where Clawson had spent much of his early career before leaving in 2004 to work for Omni Fitness, then Stamina Products before being named as president of Matrix Fitness Systems in 2007 and then promoted in 2008 to president and CEO of Johnson Health Tech North America (which owns Matrix).
In 2013, Clawson won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in the consumer products and services category for the Midwest region. In December 2016, Clawson was re-elected as the chairman of the board for the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.
Schwabero thanked Clawson for his contributions to the company, saying, "Our progress to date has been in large measure the result of the talents and energies of our Fitness organization under the direction of Chris Clawson."
Irick is new to Brunswick. He most recently served as chief commercial officer for Current, Powered by GE. He had been with GE for 14 years, working in a variety of business units in roles with increased responsibility, including corporate strategy and sales. Irick, who is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and of Harvard Business School's MBA program, had a strong track record of delivering financially at GE and transforming traditional business models to compete in new and evolving markets, according to the announcement.
"Representing roughly 20 percent of Brunswick's sales with leading products and brands in the global commercial fitness market, our Fitness segment has grown in importance both within the company and the fitness industry," Schwabero said in the announcement. "From this base, we are committed to profitably growing Fitness annual sales to $1.5 billion by 2020 and continuing to evolve both our growth strategy and fitness portfolio and brands to achieve this goal."
The Life Fitness Division of Brunswick reported 2015 revenue of $769.3 million. The company has not yet released its 2016 report, but for third quarter 2016, the last quarter for which Brunswick, a public company, reported revenue, its Life Fitness Division had net sales of $237.6 million.
In January 2016, Brunswick acquired Cybex International for $195 million and added it to its Fitness division. In July 2016, Brunswick acquired Indoor Cycle Group, Nuremberg, Germany, and added it to its Fitness segment.
"Under Jaime's leadership, the Fitness Division will fully leverage its strength as a product leader while building new capabilities to succeed as a larger, more dynamic portfolio of winning brands into traditional and new markets," Schwabero said. "The Fitness Division will effectively unify products, technology and talent to develop winning solutions for our customers. With his track record of developing new business models and customer solutions in a growing organization, we believe Jaime will accelerate Fitness' growth with his unique blend of strategic thinking, operational acumen and leadership capabilities."