“Shocking CEO Ousting Spikes Planet Fitness Shares Plunge
In a shocking move, Planet Fitness has ousted its longtime CEO and former board chair Chris Rondeau after the stocks of the company fell substantially in the recent market downturn. According to a statement released by the company, the board of directors decided to terminate Rondeau’s employment after the stock price of the company dropped over 40 percent in the past few months. The board cited a “lack of operational and financial leadership” for the reason behind Rondeau’s termination as well as what it termed “unacceptable performance” by the executive. The news of Rondeau’s dismissal caused many investors to dump the stock, sending Planet Fitness shares spiraling downward by more than 18 percent on the day it was announced. Rondeau had served as Planet Fitness’ chief executive officer and Board chair since 2012, making him the longest-tenured active executive in the history of the company. In the meantime, the board has appointed Frank Napolitano as the interim CEO of the company as well as the board chairman in the wake of Rondeau's departure. The move is seen as a necessary one by many investors as Napolitano has previously held leadership positions in organizations such as Gold’s Gym and Life Time Fitness. The board has expressed its confidence in the new settled leadership team, believing that they would be able to take the company to the next level. This is in stark contrast to the troubles that have beset the company in recent times. The company’s weak stock performance is thought to be largely due to the struggles that Planet Fitness has faced in integrating its signature judo program and other service offerings into its business plans. The board’s decision to oust Rondeau could be a step in the right direction but it will take a while to see if the new leadership team can get the company back on track. Until then, investors should continue to exercise caution when considering investing in Planet Fitness shares.