This issue of HCM we celebrate the return of industry legend Augie Nieto to Life Fitness. Nieto served as president from 1977 to 2000 and helped transform the company from a single-product business to one of the world’s largest commercial fitness equipment suppliers.
Nieto’s diagnosis with ALS in 2005 and subsequent battle with the disease is well documented, as is his contribution to a cure, which saw him establish a global charity, Augie’s Quest, with his wife, Lynne.
So far, the organisation has raised over US$75m towards research into a cure and Nieto’s strength, resolve and bravery in battling the disease has won him the respect of the industry and the wider business community.
Life Fitness says Nieto will return as a co-investor in the business and will also be appointed to its board of directors.
The move follows the acquisition of the company by KPS Capital Partners in July, which has been followed by a shake up of the management team and board.
Life Fitness was valued at US$490m (€434m, £388m) at the time of the deal, which was below its previous valuation and the new owners are moving to drive business growth.
Jay Bernstein, partner at KPS said, “We’re thrilled to bring Augie back as an investor and a strategic partner. We’re confident that his experience and vision will help Life Fitness drive forward its legacy of being a strong, focused, and innovative global market leader.”
Life Fitness has also appointed Chris Clawson as its CEO, succeeding the outgoing Jason Worthy.
The company’s family of fitness brands includes Life Fitness, Hammer Strength, Cybex, Indoor Cycling Group and SCIFIT – all brought into the group by acquisition.
As Life Fitness has not yet optimised these investments, it will be interesting to see how strategy develops going forward under the new leadership and with Nieto back on the team.
Nieto has held numerous other non-exec and advisory roles and currently serves as an operating advisor to North Castle Partners while being on the board of Curves, Jenny Craig and Hydromassage.
You can donate to Augie’s Quest at: https://augiesquest.org