Chris Clawson, the recent chairman of the Sports and Fitness Industry Association who has spent nearly 17 years of his career working for Life Fitness, has returned to the company as CEO. His appointment, three years after he left the Rosemont, IL company as president, was made a week after private equity firm KPS Capital Partners completed its $490 million cash acquisition of Life Fitness from Brunswick Corp. Earlier, in Oct. 2017, KPS acquired TaylorMade from Adidas for $425 million.
Clawson’s Life Fitness career began in product development in 1994. He would remain with company for a decade before departing for several other fitness industry executive positions, including one as president of Matrix Fitness Systems. He returned to Life Fitness in 2010 as president of the company that currently distributes six brands, all in fitness with the exception of Brunswick Billiards. Meanwhile, Augie Nieto, the founder of the “modern-day Life Fitness” has rejoined the company as director and co-investor and Steve Klyn has been named CFO. Under his leadership as Life Fitness president from 1977-2000, Nieto transformed the then single-product firm into the commercial fitness equipment leader. Life Fitness currently distributes its brands, including its namesake label, Hammer Strength and Cybex, in 160 countries.
In other fitness personnel news, publicly traded Nautilus, Inc., parent of the Bowflex brand, has named James “Jim” Barr IV as CEO and director, effective July 29. During his career, Barr has served as group president at used industrial equipment company Ritchie Bros., EVP and chief digital officer for OfficeMax, and the first president of Sears Holdings’ newly-formed online business unit in 2008.
Meanwhile, Tretorn Sweden, owned by Vasko Markovski and Joakim Appelqvist, has named former Craft, Nike and New Wave Group executive Magnus Månsson as CEO and partner. He will be charged with expanding the global reach of the brand, which markets rubber and leisure footwear, rain gear and tennis balls. In 2013, the Tretorn brand was acquired by Authentic Brands Group.
At VF Corp.-owned The North Face, Steve Lesnard, most recently global VP/GM for Nike Running, is joining the Denver company as global VP of marketing, and Outdoor Industry Association Executive Director Amy Roberts will depart the trade group in September to become North Face’s senior director of communications and corporate responsibility.
Founder Sports Group—Badger Sportswear, Alleson Athletic, Garb Athletic, and Team Athletic—hires Todd Levine, former president of Alleson, as president of its Digital Apparel Lab business based in Carlsbad, CA (fka Teamwork Athletic Apparel) on Sept. 1.