Irving, TX — Gold's Gym International's new CEO, James Weaver, has taken over the reins of the company after David Schnabel, who had been CEO of the company for two years, resigned last month to pursue other business opportunities, according to a statement by the company, which is owned by TRT Holdings.
Franchisees were notified by e-mail about the change.
"I think an organization like TRT is seeing things for the first time getting rough in the health club industry and asking David, 'What are you doing?'" says Jerry McCall, Gold's Gym franchisee in San Jose, CA, and former president of the Gold's Gym Franchisee Association. "I've been in the health club industry for a long time, and it's not that simple. I think TRT just pushed the panic button."
McCall also is concerned about what the change might mean for the brand.
"Many of us seasoned people don't require much, but we like to know that at the top of our organization, we have some consistency," McCall says. "So personally, I'm just a little miffed about this. A brand can only take so much knocking around before it takes a hit from the public."
Weaver brings considerable business experience but no health club experience to Gold's Gym. He spent nine years at Johnson & Johnson, where he led sales and marketing for the company's hospitality business. He co-founded and spearheaded the growth of hospital supply company Technol Medical Products, guiding the sale of the company to Kimberly-Clark.
"James is a highly accomplished entrepreneur and businessman with a proven record of success," Jim Caldwell, president and CEO of TRT Holdings, said in the statement. "His leadership and experience will be invaluable as we continue the evolution of the Gold's Gym brand and move the business forward."
Schnabel was appointed CEO of Gold's in 2006 after Gene LaMott resigned. Schnabel was the vice president of acquisitions for TRT Holdings and had served as a member of the board of directors for Gold's Gym since its acquisition by TRT in 2004. He participated in the acquisition of Gold's Gym for TRT and had been actively involved in the strategic planning of the company. During Schnabel's tenure as CEO, some franchisees had expressed dissatisfaction about their franchisee agreements and the assistance they received from the corporate office.