In a surprising move, Planet Fitness announced the removal of longtime company executive Chris Rondeau from his position as CEO, as stated in a press release on Friday. Following this announcement, the company’s shares closed nearly 16% lower, reaching a 52-week low.
Planet Fitness indicated that they are actively searching for their next CEO, considering candidates both internally and externally. In the interim, Craig Benson, a former governor of New Hampshire and a member of the company’s board, will assume the role of interim CEO. Benson is also a franchisee of both Planet Fitness and Dunkin’ Donuts and has served on Planet Fitness’s board for six years.
The departure of Chris Rondeau seems to have occurred suddenly, and the specific reasons behind this decision remain unclear, especially given the company’s stronger-than-expected second-quarter earnings report just last month.
Planet Fitness Chairman Stephen Spinelli Jr. stated in a press release that the board believed that this was the right time for a leadership transition. Planet Fitness declined to provide further details, and attempts to reach Chris Rondeau for comment were unsuccessful.
Chris Rondeau has a long history with the company, having worked his way up from a front desk position nearly 30 years ago at the first Planet Fitness location in Dover, New Hampshire, which was owned by founders Michael and Marc Grondahl. Rondeau has been the CEO since 2013 and previously held the position of Chief Operating Officer. He will remain a member of the board of directors and will continue to provide advisory support “to ensure a smooth transition,” according to the company.
In a statement, Rondeau expressed his gratitude, saying, “My 30-year career at Planet Fitness has been an incredible ride, and it’s been an honor to lead this company and serve our employees, franchisees, and members, all of whom have played a key role in our tremendous growth and success. I am grateful for and look forward to supporting the management team in an advisory capacity, and I have confidence in the long-term potential of Planet Fitness.”
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