IRVING, TX -- In a surprising move, David Schnabel resigned Monday as CEO of Gold’s Gym International. James Weaver is the new CEO of Gold’s, which is owned by TRT Holdings.

According to a company statement, Schnabel resigned to pursue other business opportunities.

Franchisees were notified by e-mail Monday about the change.

“I think an organization like TRT is seeing things for the first time getting rough in the health club industry and asking David, ‘What are you doing?’” says Jerry McCall, Gold’s Gym franchisee in San Jose, CA, and former president of the Gold’s Gym Franchisee Association. “I’ve been in the health club industry for a long time, and it’s not that simple. I think TRT just pushed the panic button.”

McCall also is concerned about what the change might mean for the brand.

“Many of us seasoned people don’t require much, but we like to know that at the top of our organization we have some consistency,” McCall says. “So personally, I’m just a little miffed about this. A brand can only take so much knocking around before it takes a hit from the public.”

Schnabel was appointed CEO of Gold’s in 2006 after Gene LaMott resigned. Schnabel was the vice president of acquisitions for TRT Holdings and had served as a member of the board of directors for Gold’s Gym since its acquisition by TRT in 2004. He was responsible for sourcing the acquisition of Gold’s Gym for TRT and had been actively involved in the strategic planning of the company.

Before joining Gold’s, Schnabel had worked at some of the nation’s most recognized firms, including Goldman Sachs and McKinsey & Co., He holds both an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and a graduate degree from the Harvard School of Business.

“We are grateful to David for all of his contributions to Gold’s Gym,” Jim Caldwell, president and CEO of TRT Holdings, said in the company statement. “In addition to sourcing TRT’s acquisition of Gold’s Gym, David helped lead the company through an important stage in its evolution and helped to build a strong foundation that will serve us well into the future.”

Prior to joining Gold’s, Weaver spent nine years at Johnson & Johnson, where he led sales and marketing for the company’s hospitality business. Weaver also co-founded and spearheaded the growth of hospital supply leader Technol Medical Products, guiding the sale of the company to Kimberly-Clark.

“James is a highly accomplished entrepreneur and businessman with a proven record of success,” Caldwell said in the statement. “His leadership and experience will be invaluable as we continue the evolution of the Gold’s Gym brand and move the business forward.”

Related Stories