DALLAS — Change is in the air for Gold's Gym International (GGI) and Gold's Gym franchisees. CEO and President of GGI Gene LaMott resigned from the company in late November, and to replace him, the company's board of directors appointed David Schnabel, vice president of acquisitions for TRT Holdings and a member of the board of directors for GGI since its acquisition by TRT in 2004. Just days earlier, the company announced the formation of the National Franchise Council (NFC), a steering committee designed to discuss and resolve matters of interest to the Gold's Gym system.

The new changes are positive for GGI and the Gold's Gym Franchisee Association (GGFA), says Ginger Collins, executive director of the GGFA.

“Any time your CEO decides to retire, it's going to make an impact on everyone,” she says. “But it's a very positive move for GGFA, Gene and GGI. It's not a hostile situation at all.”

LaMott, who began his association with the Gold's Gym family as an eight-unit franchisee in the late 1980s and early 1990s and transitioned into corporate leadership in 2000 when he was named COO, has served as CEO since 2001. He helped guide the company through its sale to TRT Holdings and oversaw the corporate move to Dallas in 2005. Schnabel was responsible for sourcing the acquisition of Gold's Gym for TRT Holdings and has been actively involved in the strategic planning of the company.

Schnabel and two other GGI officers will serve on the franchise council along with the GGFA chairman and two other members elected or appointed by the GGFA. The council will meet regularly to discuss matters raised by either side and will address issues facing the Gold's Gym network, such as the format of Gold's Gym's national vendor program and the Gold's Gym national ad committee. The NFC will serve as a forum to resolve issues among Gold's Gym franchisees, says Collins.