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Xponential Fitness Finds New CEO in Former Taco Bell Chief

Xponential Fitness Finds New CEO in Former Taco Bell Chief

Mark King takes over following Anthony Geisler’s sudden exit last month. Xponential’s shares soared Monday following the news of King’s hire

Xponential Fitness has appointed former Taco Bell CEO Mark King as its new leader — news that caused the boutique fitness and wellness franchisor’s shares to soar.

King succeeds interim CEO Brenda Morris, who took over after Anthony Geisler’s sudden exit last month. Morris will continue to serve on Xponential’s board of directors. King will also join the board.

XPOF shares jumped around 30% on Monday following the announcement earlier that morning.

“I am honored to become CEO of Xponential Fitness and am excited to begin working with this world-class team of employees and franchisees as we continue the company’s mission to make health and wellness accessible to everyone,” King said. “We have a strong portfolio of brands that are category leaders, and as one of the leading franchisors in the health and wellness space, we are ideally positioned to continue to profitably grow our global footprint.”

Xponential owns a portfolio of fitness and wellness brands including Club Pilates, StrecthLab, Pure Barre, Lindora and more.

King also served as president of Adidas North America and golf company TaylorMade. He is currently on the board of directors for Party City and has a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Xponential Fitness chairman Mark Grabowski said in a release that the board is confident that King’s track record of growing global brands and strengthening franchise systems will enable the boutique fitness and wellness franchisor to expand its global leadership position.

“Mark is a brand builder and innovator, and his approach to fostering customer-centric cultures and supporting franchisee success is a perfect fit for the company,” Grabowski said.

Geisler, who founded Xponential in 2017 and has served as the company’s CEO since that time, was suspended indefinitely in May after the boutique fitness franchisor received a notice of an investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. 

The franchisor disclosed an SEC investigation in December 2023, the same year Xponential was the target of a scathing short-seller report by Fuzzy Panda Research. Although Xponential has strongly refuted the claims, the report caused shares of XPOF to tumble. 

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Xponential says it’s been cooperating with the SEC and intends to cooperate with the USAO and has formed a Special Committee of Directors.

Looking ahead, Xponential is in the midst of a restructuring plan, which it kicked off in Q3 2023. This year alone, the franchisor has offloaded Stride Fitness and Row House to streamline its portfolio, reduce costs and return its focus to “pure franchise operations.” 

Lindora — Xponential’s latest acquisition — marked the company’s entrance into the booming longevity and metabolic health space. Lindora offers metabolic health clinics with hormone replacement therapies and GLP-1 weight-loss drugs, and has shown early signs that it can become Xponential’s next big franchise brand. The franchisor has sold nearly 40 Lindora licenses as of March as it puts resources into expanding the brand.

Xponential’s two biggest brands, Club Pilates and StretchLab, have over 1,000 and 400 locations, respectively.

This article has been updated with additional information on XPOF shares.

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