Gold's Gym International, Dallas, has new leadership as of Tuesday when the company announced that its CEO and executive vice president of operations are no longer with the company.
A memo to Gold's Gym team members from Jim Caldwell, president of TRT Holdings, which has owned Gold's Gym since 2004, stated:
"As of this morning, former President Aaron Watkins and Executive Vice President of Operations David Fowler are no longer with Gold's Gym. With the rapid evolution of our brand and changing landscape of the industry, we felt that new leadership was in the best interest of the company. Both Aaron and David have put a lot of heart and hard work into growing Gold's Gym and we are very grateful for all of their contributions."
Watkins had been with Gold's Gym International since 2006, starting as vice president controller. In 2011, he became COO, and in November 2013, he became president. Fowler had been with Gold's since 2007. Prior to that, he was with Crunch Fitness and Equinox Fitness Holding Co., according to his LinkedIn profile.
Brandon Bean, chairman of Gold's Gym International and CFO for TRT Holdings, has been appointed CEO of the company. Bean has been with TRT Holdings since 2007 and became chairman of Gold's Gym International in 2013, according to his LinkedIn profile. Prior to that, he worked in the investment management division of Goldman Sachs from 2003 to 2007, for Clipscom from 2000 to 2001 and for Arthur Andersen from 1996 to 2000.
"I am confident that with Brandon's in-depth knowledge of the company and passion for the industry, Gold's Gym will thrive more than ever under his day-to-day leadership," the memo reads. "All members of the executive team will report directly to Brandon."
The company had already been seeking a new senior vice president of franchising. Tim Hicks, who had been in that role since October 2010, left the company in September 2015. Tuesday's memo noted that the company was still seeking his replacement, and it also would begin a search for a new COO.
The memo noted that TRT Holdings continually invests in the brand to ensure that it outperforms in growth, operations and innovation.
The memo ends by saying: "Together with new leadership, we will chart a course to lead the industry for the next 50 years. When TRT purchased Gold's Gym, we did so because we saw an iconic brand in an exploding industry whose potential was limitless. Twelve years later, we believe that more than ever."
Ginger Collins, executive director of the Gold's Gym Franchisee Association (GGFA), said that Watkins will be missed by franchisees.
"Franchisees will miss Aaron and wish him well," she told Club Industry. "The GGFA, being an independent entity with franchisee governance, provides constancy amid change. Brandon has been engaged at corporate in his chairman role, and we look forward to his leadership as CEO."
Gold's Gym ranked No. 11 on Club Industry's Top 100 Clubs list in 2015 with an estimated 2014 revenue of $139 million.