New Chairman for Fitness FirstCinven, today announces that John Lovering has been appointed Chairman of Fitness First with immediate effect. Fitness First was acquired by Cinven in June 2003, in a transaction valued at around €560 million.
Fitness First is the fourth Cinven-backed business where John Lovering has been Chairman. The first was Hoogenbosch, a shoe and sports retailer in Holldand, in 1996, which Cinven successfully exited in 1999. The second was The Peacock Group plc, the quoted value-for-money retailer, in 1997, which Cinven subsequently floated in 1999. Lovering remains Peacock's Chairman today. The third was Odeon Cinemas, in 2000, which Cinven sold in March of this year.
John's other private equity involvement has included the Chairmanship of Homebase Ltd, of Fired Earth, the interiors retailer, and of Birthdays Group Ltd. His earlier career was spent in a number of financial and operational roles with retailer groups including Grand Metropolitan. He was Chief Operating Officer of Tarmac plc from 1992 to 1995 and before that was Finance Director of Sears plc.
In addition to the Chairmanships John Lovering holds at Fitness First and Peacock, he is also Chairman of The Laurel Pub Company.
At Fitness First John will succeed Christopher Pearce, who will remain a Non-executive Director.
Yagnish Chotai, a director of Cinven, said:
"John is a very experienced Chairman of private equity backed businesses, and his retail and financial skills will be a welcome resource for Fitness First."