A Chat with 24 Hour CEO

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I spent an hour late this morning interviewing Carl Liebert, CEO of 24 Hour Fitness, for an upcoming Executive Insights column and podcast. Liebert has been in the CEO role at 24 Hour for less than a year, but he already seemed comfortable using health club lingo and projecting growth for the company both in the United States and in Asia. He spoke a bit about the company's plans to expand into the Northeast--mainly New York, Baltimore and Washington, DC, at this time. He also seemed excited about their clubs in Asia and their partnership with Yao Ming that puts them in Beijing, China.

Speaking of expansion, he stated a goal of opening one 24 Hour club a week at some point in the next few years and eventually opening three a week.

That kind of growth could offer a lot of career opportunities for staff at the clubs, he says. Liebert emphasized the importance of keeping staff educated, trained and envisioning a future with the company as one way to retain employees. He also noted that the 24 Hour clubs that have the highest staff retention rates also have the highest member retention rates, a stat that he doesn't think is a coincidence since members like the familiarity that comes with seeing the same faces at the front desk day in and day out.

Look for more from Liebert in the August issue, in the online Executive Insights column and in the podcast of the interview. All will be available by the middle of this month.

If you have suggestions for other executives at major health club companies that you'd like to hear from, let me know. We may slate them for our next Executive Insights column. - Pam

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