Michael Metcalf appointed at Fitness First
Fitness First, the international operator of fitness clubs, today announces the appointment of Michael Metcalf (52) as Chief Executive Designate. Mr Metcalf will be leaving Burberry Group plc, where he is Chief Operating Officer, at the end of March 2004 and will be joining Fitness First in late April 2004.
A chartered accountant, Mr Metcalf qualified with Ernst & Young. He was Group Finance Director of Thorn EMI plc from 1989 to 1991, Chief Executive of Thorn plc from 1996 to 1998, and joined Burberry as Chief Operating Officer in 1998.
Following a transition period, Michael will take over the role of Chief Executive from Mike Balfour. Mike Balfour opened the company’s first health club in February 1993 in Bournemouth. Since then, Fitness First has expanded rapidly and is now the leading international health club operator serving over 900,000 members in 15 countries. The company now has an extensive network of fitness clubs offering “affordable fitness”, from Shanghai to Sydney in the Far East and from Edinburgh to Rome in Europe. Mike Balfour will take up the position of Deputy Chairman of Fitness First. The Company was acquired by Cinven in June 2003, in a transaction valued at around €560 million.
John Lovering, Chairman of Fitness First, today commented:
"We are delighted that Michael Metcalf is joining Fitness First. He has impeccable credentials for the job and is well qualified to take this highly international business to its next phase of development. That he is able to join at a time when the business is performing well bears testament to Mike Balfour’s successful leadership of Fitness First.”
Yagnish Chotai of Cinven added:
"Michael Metcalf’s appointment is the result of a well considered, long-term succession plan that has been under development for some time. Fitness First is one of the great entrepreneurial success stories of the past ten years and we are obviously delighted to have secured the optimal combination of the founder’s passion and vision for the business and Michael Metcalf’s significant operational experience within international business brands."
About Fitness First
Founded in 1992, Fitness First was created with the objective of developing a chain of health and fitness clubs to focus on the concept of high quality and value for money, providing health and fitness club facilities that tend to be in most demand for a subscription fee of around £35 per month, £45 in London.
A typical Fitness First health club follows a consistent format of providing high quality facilities that are typically most used by club members, including a well-equipped gymnasium, aerobics studios, luxury changing facilities, sauna/steam rooms, lounge and beauty salon. Clubs have a free video and DVD library, 16-channel entertainment system and provide complimentary soft drinks, coffee and tea.
Fitness First entered the European market with an acquisition in Germany in 1998. During the next 2 years, acquisitions were made in Europe, Asia and Australia. Fitness First is now operating in 15 countries across the world and is the market leader in the UK, Germany, Belgium, Asia and Australia with additional businesses in France, Italy, Spain and Holland. Fitness First serves over 900,000 members worldwide and has a total of 383 clubs.
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