Starting on Aug. 1, Ben Francis, the 29-year-old entrepreneur who co-founded Gymshark in 2012 and is the British fitness apparel brand’s controlling shareholder, will take over the role of CEO from Steve Hewitt, who had been appointed managing director in 2015 and promoted to CEO two years later. Francis has been acting lately as chief product officer of the company, a position that was recently taken over by Danielle Petesic.
Meanwhile, Gymshark has continue to grow strongly. In the last 12 months, Gymshark reportedly reached revenues of more than £400 million (€465m-$552m)., up from £260 million for all of 2020.
Hewitt will take up the new role of executive president, supporting Francis in an advisory role for the scalability of Gymshark in key markets. A post on LinkedIn to Gymshark’s 144,296 followers says the move will enable Hewitt to spend more well-deserved time with his family. It indicates that Francis and Hewitt had been discussing and planning for this transfer of responsibilities for two years.
Prior to joining Gymshark, Hewitt spent six years as commercial director of Reebok for the EMEA region, based in Bolton, between 2001 and the end of 2006. He then ran TigerTurf and the Sports Brand Group. Between October 2013 and June 2020, coinciding in part with his work at Gymshark, he was the principal owner of Sandee, a brand of functional combat sports equipment and clothing made in Thailand.
Hewitt started to work for Gymshark as an external advisor in June 2014. As its CEO, it professionalized the business and built up a senior leadership team that helped the direct-to-consumer brand to enjoy strong growth until General Atlantic invested in the company last August, valueing it at more than £1 billion (€1.16bn-$1.33bn). At that time, Hewitt exited the Sandee operation.