Fitness industry leader Paul Byrne will retire September 1 after 28 years with Precor. Current Vice President, Rob Barker will be assuming his position.
Woodinville, WA – May 13, 2013 – President Paul Byrne announced today that after 28 years with Precor, including 13 as President, he will begin his retirement on September 1. Precor Vice President – EMEA & APAC, Rob Barker, will assume the presidency in the culmination of a long-developing succession plan.
When announcing his retirement Byrne shared:
“Over the past 35 years, I have been fortunate to have been part of an industry that has contributed to the well being of so many people, and to have spent 28 of those years at Precor has been beyond fortunate. It has been an immeasurable gift. I will retire with great pride in what we have accomplished and with eager anticipation of what lies ahead.”
Byrne, one of the most recognized and respected executives in the fitness industry, began his career as the co-founder of Concept 90, a chain of stores that helped introduce the concept of specialty fitness retail in the United States. In 1985, Precor founder David Smith invited Byrne to join the then fledgling company as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. In 2000, Byrne took the helm as president. Over the course of 28 years Byrne has been a consistent visionary, guiding the transformation of Precor, the fitness industry and the way millions of people exercise. Under his leadership, Precor:
- Grew from a $20 million manufacturer of home rowing machines in the United States to a $350 million supplier of home and commercial fitness experiences globally
- Developed a corporate culture admired for openness and loyalty which is regularly recognized in media surveys of “Best Places to Work”
- Introduced the Elliptical Fitness Cross-Trainer (EFX®) , establishing what is now the second largest category of cardio equipment found in homes and gyms
- Introduced the Adaptive Motion Trainer (AMT®), the most personalized piece of cardio training equipment available
- Established the standard in the newly developing category of networked fitness with Preva®, which now operates in more than 1,000 commercial installations across 37 countries
Upon Byrne’s recommendation, Rob Barker was unanimously approved as the new President by the Amer Sports Board of Directors and Heikki Takala, President & CEO of Amer Sports. The promotion of Barker continues the legacy of internal leadership development at Precor. The expectation of a smooth transition and continued success of Precor was emphasized by Byrne:
“Rob has been part of the Precor family since 1995, and I consider him a great colleague and a great friend. He has done an extraordinary job leading our international business and helping to shape our overall strategy as part of the global senior management team. I am confident in the future of the Precor business and the Precor culture with Rob as our new President.”
Barker joined Precor in 1995 as the U.K. Sales and Marketing Manager and has developed his experience through several positions. For the last five years Barker served as Vice President – EMEA & APAC and as a member of the global Precor senior management team where he has helped shape the company’s growth strategy. During his five year tenure at the helm of EMEA & APAC, the Precor business has grown dramatically. From 2008 through 2012, sales increased 133 percent and now represent 45 percent of all Precor revenue. Barker will begin his transition now, enjoying several months of overlap with Byrne. He and his family will relocate to the United States this summer. In response to the announcement Barker remarked:
“I am honoured and excited to be asked by Paul Byrne and Heikki Takala to become the Precor President upon Paul’s retirement. I congratulate Paul on his strong career and admire his extraordinary efforts in shaping Precor into the world-leading company that it is today. It has been my good fortune to work closely with Paul for many years and to see first-hand how Precor has, under his stewardship, innovated entirely new categories of fitness equipment and services like the EFX, AMT and Preva. It will be a pleasure to work with our employees worldwide to continue the Precor legacy of innovation.”
Precor operates as the fitness segment of Amer Sports, where the traditional Precor expertise in exercise is complemented by the other brands’ deep understanding of sports and advanced sports equipment. Heikki Takala, President and CEO of Amer Sports, added:
“I would like to thank Paul for his great contribution to the company as President of Precor. Paul leaves a huge legacy, with very strong business momentum coupled with a tremendous strategic business transformation from ‘traditional’ fitness company into a ‘networked’ business behind the successful introduction of Preva. As to Rob Barker’s appointment, I’m really glad that we have been able to internally grow a professional like Rob to assume Paul’s role. Rob’s many years of experience with Precor has given him the skills to succeed in the new position.”