Gym Group brings in Wais Shaifta and Rio Ferdinand as non-execs and eyes expansion
Leisure Opportunities
Job search
Job Search
see all jobs
Latest job opportunities
Oundle School
£40,000 – £45,000
Oundle School Sports Centre, Northamptonshire
Everyone Active
Unlimited earning potential
Camberwell Leisure Centre, London, UK
star job
Rugby, UK
star job
Coach Gyms
£15k basic + commission + Bonus
Leeds, UK

Gym Group brings in Wais Shaifta and Rio Ferdinand as non-execs and eyes expansion

Job opportunities
training opportunity
Les Mills
location: Nationwide, United Kingdom
more jobs
I've been impressed at how The Gym Group is breaking down barriers to fitness and I look forward to contributing as a director to the next stage of growth

The Gym Group has brought in Rio Ferdinand and Wais Shaifta as non-executive directors, signalling a broadening of its remit, new horizons and an intention to continue to refine and expand its member offering.

Shaifta is currently CEO at Europe-wide digital healthcare company, Push Doctor, which works in partnership with the NHS to connect patients with clinicians. He was previously director of global operations at online beauty marketplace, Treatwell (formerly Wahanda), and prior to that spent six years at Just Eat, where he was responsible for group operations strategy.

His appointment will strengthen the board in developing its health- and wellness-related services, as well as its secondary spend operations, while his global experience would help the company in delivering international expansion – an option which is thought to be on the cards.

Footballing legend, Rio Ferdinand, has built a business career in broadcasting, charity and champions areas such as social housing and youth development.

Through the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, he works collaboratively with young people and communities to deliver 'progression pathways' aimed at ensuring young people are socially mobile and empowered to be independent.

An author and filmmaker, Ferdinand is a passionate advocate for fitness, mental health and wellbeing and diversity.

The Gym Group announced the appointments alongside the release of its pre-close trading update for the year to 31 December today. The company said it cut its monthly cash burn to around £5m during the January lockdown – down from £6m during the November shutdown – thanks partly to it utilising grant support recently announced by the government.

The budget chain says it lost 45 per cent of its trading days during 2020, which resulted in total revenue falling by nearly half to £80.5m, down from £153.1m in 2019.

During 2020, the group lost more than 200,000 members, with total year-end membership across its 184 sites standing at 578,000 – down from 794,000 in December 2019, with 20 per cent of those being students, due to disruptions in the academic year.

The take-up of LIVE IT – its premium pricing product – has grown strongly and now has a penetration of 22.5 per cent of total membership (up from 18.9 per cent in December 2019).

The group is also looking for further expansion opportunities, after opening eight new sites during 2020. It is already on-site for three new openings – in York, Sydenham and Cambridge – and is planning more.

"We continue to see an opportunity to access excellent new sites at attractive rents," said Richard Darwin, The Gym Group CEO.

"We are building a strong pipeline for 2021 and beyond and we will continue to progress new leases during this current period of lockdown. We will determine the timing of the rollout programme once there is greater visibility about a reopening date for gyms."

Commenting on the overall picture and the state of the industry, Darwin added: “2020 has been a challenging year for our business, our members and our colleagues.

"Through the outstanding work of our team we provided a COVID-secure exercise environment for our members and demonstrated the resilience of our business model by trading profitably when gyms have been open.

"Our cash management during the pandemic has ensured we ended 2020 with manageable levels of debt and significant liquidity,” he said.

The group has now begun talks with lenders over reviewing covenant tests, relating to its £100m bank facility.

"At a time when health and fitness has never been more important to the nation, we are ready to emerge from the pandemic and take advantage of the many opportunities available us,” said Darwin.

Sign up for FREE ezines & magazines
The Gym Group has brought in Wais Shaifta and Rio Ferdinand as non-executive directors, signalling a broadening of its remit, new horizons and an intention to continue to refine and expand its member offering.

More News

1 - 15 of 43,154
28 Feb 2021
Hundreds of gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres have been forced to close and thousands more are at risk unless they receive urgent, tailored, financial ... More
27 Feb 2021
People placing increased emphasis on their physical fitness, the advances made in digital fitness and the opportunities arising from a reshaped real estate landscape will ... More
26 Feb 2021
A new guide looks to offer local level practitioners and commissioners – as well as those working in physical activity – help identify and break ... More
25 Feb 2021
What are the effects on public health of gyms and leisure centres being shut during lockdowns? Could more people be suffering worse symptoms – or ... More
25 Feb 2021
Mobile data and analytics provider App Annie has released its State Of Mobile 2021 report, in which the company estimates that more than 71,000 new ... More
25 Feb 2021
The world's largest fitness trade fair, FIBO, has been rescheduled to November. The event will take place at the Koelnmesse exhibition centre in Cologne, Germany, ... More
Venueserve UK Ltd
Venueserve UK Ltd
22 Feb 2021
Merlin Entertainments has revealed details of the new Croc Drop attraction, set to open at its Chessington World of Adventures Resort theme park near London, ... More
22 Feb 2021
Most outdoor attractions in England – including zoos and theme parks – will be allowed to reopen their doors on 12 April. Announcing the government's ... More
22 Feb 2021
PM, Boris Johnson, has confirmed that gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres in England will reopen on 12 April if current virus containment continues. Prime ... More
22 Feb 2021
The re-opening of gyms in Wales has been pushed back by the country's First Minister – just two weeks after one of his ministers promised ... More
21 Feb 2021
The physical and mental health of women in the UK has been put under unprecedented pressure by the pandemic, according to Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson. The ... More
19 Feb 2021
A new visitor attraction at London's Marble Arch is set to anchor ambitious plans to "reimagine" the city's famous Oxford Street shopping district. The planned ... More
MyZone Group Ltd
MyZone Group Ltd
19 Feb 2021
Excess body fat and obesity are likely to have contributed to more deaths in England and Scotland than smoking since 2014, according to new research ... More
19 Feb 2021
The financial performance of health club operator SATS in the last quarter of 2020 was "dominated by the second wave of club closures", but the ... More
19 Feb 2021
FIBO has announced that its Chinese event next month will be held as a hybrid event – which means it will be the first fitness ... More
TVS Sport Surfaces
TVS Sport Surfaces
1 - 15 of 43,154
Hussle HQ
Hussle HQ