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Life Fitness Makes Changes

SCHILLER PARK, IL -- Life Fitness is making some changes, which include the search for a new president. John Stransky left so suddenly from the role of president last month that Brunswick Corp., the parent company of Life Fitness, did not have time to find a replacement. However, prior to Stransky's departure, the company had moved two Life Fitness vice presidents into new roles.

Tim McCarthy has been named vice president for the Americas, responsible for performance in the United States, Canada and Latin America. Frank van de Ven will assume McCarthy's former role as vice president of the international business. Van de Ven previously served as the vice president of sales for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

McCarthy has a long history with Life Fitness, having joined the company in 1991. He has held sales and management positions of increasing responsibility in the athletic, consumer, education, government, hospitality and commercial dealer segments of the business.

Life Fitness has not commented on why Stransky left or where he went. Until a replacement is found, Peter Hamilton is assuming responsibility as president. Hamilton had been president of Life Fitness from 2005 to 2006 when he left to become president of Brunswick's Boat Group. Later, he was promoted to Brunswick senior vice president and chief financial officer.

The company is being tight-lipped about possible replacements, saying only that the company will consider a number of internal and external candidates.

Stransky left two weeks before Brunswick was set to release its first quarter 2010 earnings.

Fourth quarter 2009 sales for Life Fitness were $146.4 million, down 15 percent from fourth quarter 2008 — and fourth quarter 2008 revenue already was down by 20 percent from fourth quarter 2007. In third quarter 2009, sales decreased by 22 percent, second quarter 2009 sales were down 33 percent and first quarter 2009 sales decreased by 21 percent, all compared to the same quarter in the prior year.

The last time revenue increased for the Fitness Division of Brunswick was in third quarter 2008, when sales rose 8 percent for the quarter to $161.6 million, from $150.2 million in third quarter 2007.

Brunswick Corp., which is a publicly traded company whose biggest division is its Marine Division, has experienced declines in its overall revenue during the past year. For 2009, Brunswick reported a decrease in net sales of almost 50 percent — $2.8 billion in 2009 compared to $4.7 billion in 2008. Much of the decline was due to slower boat sales caused by the economy, the company says.

Brunswick Corp. acquired Life Fitness in June 1997, and later that year, it also acquired Hammer Strength, both of which are part of its Fitness Division.

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