Forty owners and CEOs from some of the most profitable commercial clubs, medical fitness centers and fitness management companies attended the first annual Club Industry CEO Summit on Thursday at the Club Industry 2011 show in Chicago.

During the morning panel session, the attendees discussed a variety of issues with four CEOs from four segments in the industry. The panel, which was moderated by Rick Caro, president of Management Vision, New York, included Mike Sheehan, CEO of Bally Total Fitness, Chicago; Matthew Stevens, CEO of Western Athletic Clubs, San Francisco; Bill McBride of Club One, San Francisco; and Peter Taunton, CEO of Snap Fitness, Chanhassen, MN. The panelists and attendees were able to interact and share thoughts on a variety of topics.

Some of the CEOs in attendance included Carl Liebert of 24 Hour Fitness, San Ramon, CA; Jim Snow of Gold’s Gym International, Irving, TX; Robert Brewster of the Alaska Clubs, Anchorage, AK; Steven Schwartz of TCA Holdings, Chicago; Doug Ribley of Akron General, Akron, OH; Tom Rhind of Power Wellness, Addison, IL; Simon Meredith of East Bank Club, Chicago; Jeff Skeen of Titan Fitness, McLean, VA; and Kirk Galiani of Onelife Fitness, Norfolk, VA.

During the lunch, Harry Kraemer, professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and an executive partner of a private equity firm that owns part of LA Fitness, gave a keynote address titled “From Values to Action: The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership.” Attendees received a free copy of his book.

The afternoon included a financial panel that spoke about the state of the industry from the perspective of equity investors. The panelists were David King of Culpeper Capital, Joe Pellegrini of Robert Baird & Co., Doug Lehrman of Pulse Equity and Hugh Paisley of Credit Suisse. These experts have been part of transactions and operations involving 24 Hour Fitness, Equinox, World Health Clubs/International Fitness Holdings, Extreme Fitness, Life Time Fitness, Gold’s Gym, Fitness First, Spectrum Athletic Clubs, Weight Watchers, Nautilus, Stairmaster, Under Armor, Lululemon and many other companies in related industries.

After the CEO Summit, many of the attendees adjourned to a reception at the Club Industry booth on the exhibit hall floor.