Bally Total Fitness, Chicago, has named Marc Tascher as its new president and CEO and has added him to its board of directors.

The announcement was made in a company memo Monday.

Tascher will be responsible for overseeing all of Bally’s operations, including its strategy, direction, growth and long-term planning, according to the memo obtained by Club Industry.

Tascher takes over for Mike Sheehan, who was appointed Bally CEO in 2008. Sheehan, who came to Bally after having served as the COO of 24 Hour Fitness, San Ramon, CA, says he left Bally at the end of July. His exit has been in the works for months, he adds, after Bally sold 171 clubs to LA Fitness last November.

“There is a great team that is stepping up and taking on the leadership roles,” Sheehan said in a text late Monday night.

Tascher has more than 35 years in the fitness industry. He co-founded and later served as chairman and CEO of Town Sports International (TSI), New York, which operates New York Sports Clubs, Boston Sports Clubs, Washington Sports Clubs and Philadelphia Sports Clubs. After 22 years at TSI, in which he built the company from one squash club to one of the largest chains in the country, Tascher sold the company and built Sports and Fitness Ventures.

In 2005, Tascher and Angelo Gordon & Co. entered into an agreement to purchase Crunch, New York, and its 21 clubs from Bally for $45 million in cash. The acquisition was finalized in January 2006. Tascher was named the chairman and CEO of Crunch, but he stepped down as CEO just six months later.

Since 2006, Tascher has owned, operated and provided management and consulting services to other fitness clubs, including Altheus, Healthtrax, Rock Creek Sports Club and Healthy Fit for Women, according to the memo.

“Given Marc’s background, as well as his demonstrated entrepreneurial and leadership skills, the Board of Directors believes that Marc is ideally suited to lead the Bally team,” the company said in the memo.

Tascher has a tall task ahead of him. Bally, which ranked No. 5 on Club Industry’s Top 100 Clubs list this year with a reported $468 million in 2011 revenue, is down to less than 60 clubs. In addition to selling the 171 clubs to LA Fitness for $153 million, Bally sold 39 clubs to Blast Fitness, Auburndale, MA, earlier this year. Terms of that deal were not disclosed.