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Gymshark co-founder Ben Francis returns to CEO role

By Huw Hughes

2 Jul 2021

Business

Image: Gymshark
Gymshark co-founder Ben Francis is returning to the helm of the company in August as the British brand looks to expand in the US and Asia.

Francis, who founded the gymwear and athleisure brand in 2012, will replace current CEO Steve Hewitt who has been at the helm of the company since 2017, before which he was managing director.

Hewitt will remain at Gymshark as its executive president.

Twenty-nine-year-old Francis, who owns 70 percent of Gymshark, was previously CEO of the business but stepped down in 2017 to take on the role of chief brand officer.

He said in a LinkedIn video published on Thursday: “I’m well aware of the fact that I’ve got so much more yet to learn, but equally I do feel like everything has led me to this point has put me in such an amazing position to do this role.”

He said his experience in various roles at the company, from chief tech officer to chief product officer, puts him in an “amazing position” to “amalgamate all of that knowledge, experience and expertise, and hopefully be the person that can really help to lead Gymshark to this next level”.

Ben Francis named new Gymshark CEO

The news comes just weeks after Gymshark announced plans to open its first US distribution centre in California in July, followed by two East Coast centres later in the year.

The brand has been at the forefront of the burgeoning fitness apparel and athleisure market and said it expects to see high double-digit growth in the US in the coming years.

The company said the new distribution centres will help it to continue its rapid growth and will allow it to reach the majority of US customers within three days.

The fulfilment centre opening in July is expected to create hundreds of new jobs.

Gymshark has grown at a fast rate since its founding in 2012, driven by influencer marketing and increasing consumer demand for athleisure.

The company now operates in over 180 countries with an audience of over 16 million on social media and a turnover of 380 million dollars in 2020.

Last summer, it became just the second British company since 2001 to achieve a valuation of over 1 billion pounds without any prior investment.