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Life Fitness Looks for a Leader

An immediate departure of an executive always leads to speculation, especially when the company doesn't name a replacement upon announcing the resignation, but we can't speculate here why John Stransky, president of Life Fitness, resigned yesterday. Life Fitness is being tight-lipped about the reasons. His resignation was effective immediately.

I am a bit sad to see Stransky go, mostly because I met him at the IHRSA show last year and found out that he was a fellow Jayhawk. We both graduated from the University of Kansas, and not only did I get a pleasant interview from him during the trade show, but during the next day's early morning workouts, he let me borrow his iPod so I could check out the features on some of Life Fitness' equipment.

Stransky had been president at Life Fitness since 2006 when he took over from Peter Hamilton, who had moved into the role of president of Brunswick Boat Group. Later, Hamilton was named senior vice president and CFO at Brunswick Corp., the parent company of Life Fitness. Hamilton will step in to lead Life Fitness while the company seeks a new head. I don't foresee Hamilton pulling a Bob Giardina and coming back to Life Fitness permanently, but putting him in charge during the interim seems prudent.

Stransky had been president of the Brunswick Bowling and Billiards group prior to moving into the Life Fitness role. It seems that Brunswick has a habit of moving executives from one division to another, so it's possible we could see another division president move into this role. Or, perhaps someone who has been moving up in the Fitness Division could be named president. For some reason, I think one of these two outcomes is more likely than hiring from outside.

Regardless, my goodbye to this fellow Jayhawk doesn't make me quite as sad as saying adios to KU basketball player Cole Aldrich, who departed for the pros a year early. (Nor does it make me nearly as sad as seeing KU leave the NCAA tourney way too early this year!) But I do wish Stransky well wherever he's headed.

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