The board of directors of 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide Holdings Inc., San Ramon, CA, has elected Elizabeth Blair as president and CEO, the company announced Friday.
Blair previously served as executive vice president, chief strategy officer and general counsel of 24 Hour Fitness. Blair succeeds former CEO Carl Liebert, who left the company in May 2013 to become president of USAA Capital Corp. The resignation came two months after Liebert had announced a dozen layoffs and other moves within the corporate office.
Blair, along with Jeff Boyer, executive vice president and chief operating officer, and Patrick Flanagan, executive vice president and chief financial officer, managed 24 Hour through its Office of the Chair while the company searched for Liebert's replacement. The Office of the Chair was announced by 24 Hour Fitness Chair Kathleen Broderick.
Prior to joining 24 Hour in February 2013, Blair served as CEO of the Internet marketing firm Brand.net. Earlier in her career, Blair worked as Yahoo!'s senior vice president of business operations for the global operating group (sales, product, marketing, international) from 2003 to 2007. She joined Yahoo! in 1998, working first in corporate and business development, and later as vice president and senior vice president of Yahoo!'s Local Media Group. Prior her time at Yahoo!, Blair was a member of the mergers and acquisitions team at Primedia and a securities and corporate transactional lawyer in private practice. Blair received a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
"Since joining the company early this year, Elizabeth has shown remarkable leadership and creativity," Broderick said in a press release from the company. "We are all excited that she has agreed to serve as chief executive officer—as we continue to grow 24 Hour Fitness as a dominant player in the health club industry in the United States."
24 Hour is owned by partnerships managed by Forstmann Little & Co., the New York-based private equity firm founded by the late Theodore J. Forstmann, which acquired 24 Hour in June 2005.
"I have known Elizabeth for a long time, and she is an experienced and results-focused executive," 24 Hour Fitness Director Mark MacDougall said in a statement. "She will be a fine leader for our more than 21,000 employees. Ted Forstmann would have been very happy to have Elizabeth on his team."
Late last year, Forstmann Little withdrew the company from a private sale process that was initiated earlier in 2012. Forstmann Little said that moving to a final sale under the market conditions at the time "was not in the best interests of the shareholders."
24 Hour Fitness ranked second on Club Industry's Top 100 Health Clubs list this year with an estimated $1.5 billion in 2012 revenue.
(Reporting by Editor-in-Chief Pamela Kufahl and Executive Editor Stuart Goldman.)