Lift Brands, Chanhassen, Minnesota, has named former Papa Murphy's CEO Weldon Spangler as its new top executive, effective as of Sept. 16. This news comes nine months after the resignation of company founder Peter Taunton.
Lift Brands is the owner of Snap Fitness, 9Round International, YogaFit Studios, Steele Fitness and Fitness on Demand. Its total portfolio includes more than 2,000 locations across 27 countries.
“We are thrilled to welcome Weldon to the Lift Brands management team,” Sam Katz, managing partner of Lift Brands' investor TZP Group, said in a Sept. 19 media release. “Weldon brings more than 30 years of global business excellence with a terrific track record of execution working closely with franchisees and partners to drive growth, consumer engagement and innovation.”
Spangler was previously president and CEO of pizza franchise Papa Murphy's, where he helped the publicly traded company grow to 1,400 locations and claim $800 million in system-wide sales. From 2017 to 2019, Spangler was specifically credited with rebuilding the company's relationships with its franchisees, according to the release. Papa Murphy's was sold in April to MTY Group, a Canadian company that also owns Cold Stone Creamery and Pinkberry among other brands.
Prior to Papa Murphy's, Spangler held several franchisee-focused executive roles with Dunkin' Brands Group from 2010 to 2017. This includes senior vice president of Baskin Robbins (2,500 locations) and head of operations of Dunkin Donuts (8,000 locations). Additionally, Spangler was also vice president of Starbucks Japan from 2003 to 2007 and helped grow the brand to 600 locations, making it Starbucks' largest international market at the time.
“Whether you’re working in quick service restaurant franchising or in fitness franchising, building strong alignment between the franchisor and local owners and their teams is the key to generating long-term success and value creation,” Spangler said in the release. “I’m excited to build relationships with the 1,300-plus franchisees and business partners at Lift Brands and chart a course for accelerated growth globally.”
Lift Brands COO Tom Welter was instrumental in leading the company while it conducted its CEO search, but he never officially held an interim CEO title, Lift Brands told Club Industry on Sept. 30.
Lift Brands ranked No. 22 on Club Industry's Top 100 Health Clubs of 2018 list, reporting $76.60 million in 2017 revenue. The company did not self-report its 2018 earnings, so it was not included on the 2019 list.