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Exclusive: Neil King named COO of énergie Fitness as it gears up for investors

Clear plans for a future capital realisation event, innovations such as ‘Thé Yard’ and ambitious growth plans make this an exciting time to be joining énergie
– Neil King, COO, energie Fitness

Neil King, the managing director of 1Life Management Solutions, is set to join énergie Fitness as its new chief operating officer, Health Club Management can exclusively reveal.

The appointment means current CEO, chairman and founder of énergie Group, Jan Spaticchia, will focus on group strategy and expansion as the business moves closer to a decision on its options for long-term growth.

Spaticchia told Health Club Management: “We’re looking at a capital realisation event at the back end of this year – it could be private equity, it could be an IPO – and this [appointment] will give me the opportunity to work on that.

“Neil is a respected leader in our sector and brings a blend of experience, integrity and commercial acumen that will serve us well as we enter our next stage of growth.

“His appointment as COO is a statement of our intent, with an ambitious agenda for growth and quality that requires us to attract the very best talent.”

In 2016, the group sold a three per cent share through crowdfunding site Crowdcube. And in 2012 it abandoned a floatation at the last minute due to market volatility.

King will join at the end of February and will focus on brand value and operations. He is expected to take over as énergie’s CEO in the medium-term future, at which point Spaticchia will remain as chairman.

énergie is undergoing a network-wide rebrand which will see the current Fit4Less estate rebranded under the new énergie Fitness brand, as the group seeks to leverage its position in the low-cost fitness franchise space.

King will work with Spaticchia on the UK and international growth of the business, which has nearly 100 clubs and a network turnover of £30m. He said: “I’m delighted to be joining énergie Fitness at this important stage of its development.

“The new énergie brand presents a fantastic opportunity to own a unique space in the marketplace and the current diversity in the sector brings multiple opportunities for franchising.

“Clear plans for a future capital realisation event, innovations such as ‘Thé Yard’ and ambitious growth plans make this an exciting time to be joining énergie.”

With 25 years’ experience in the industry, King has held senior management roles at Everyone Active, Balance Fitness (Elixia) and Fitness First.

He joined 1Life in June 2013 and led the rebranding and turnaround of the American-owned leisure management company, which operates 40 local authority sites across the UK, including swimming pools, leisure centres and golf clubs.

He will be replaced at 1Life by Mark Braithwaite – the managing director of one of the business’s two contract groups.

Braithwaite said: “I’m looking forward to developing the business in both our long-term core activities and in new areas for growth.

“This is an exciting time for 1Life as we look to develop the SmartFit 35 brand proposition and continue to evolve.”

1Life manages 45 local authority venues including leisure centres, swimming pools, golf courses, theatres, nature parks and the National Centre Craft and Design.

The organisation employs around 2,000 people and logs around 12 millions visits to its facilities each year.

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