BOSTON — The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) has begun its search for a new leader. John McCarthy, executive director, announced his plans to retire by June 30, 2006, at the March IHRSA show.

“John has done an excellent job as both the leader of the organization and as a visionary for the industry,” said Julie Main, president of IHRSA's Board of Directors. “I think both of those roles have really led IHRSA to where it is today. We have been fortunate to have someone who has been so willing to travel and speak for the industry and brought such a positive spin to an industry that had been perceived negatively in the past.”

The IHRSA board, comprised of club owners, had a lengthy conversation at the March board meeting in San Francisco prior to the IHRSA show and formed a committee of board members, IHRSA staff and previous presidents to look at all the options for filling the position. The board will look at whether to hire an executive search firm and whether to look inside or outside the industry, Main said.

“We'd like to name a successor by calendar year end so they have six months to work with John through next year's convention,” she said.

The ideal candidate would be passionate about the industry, have a dynamic personality, be able to serve as a leader and spokesperson, and have a desire to steer IHRSA for its next 25 years, Main said.