Indoor cycling brand Flywheel Sports has recruited longtime Nike and Bauer Performance Sports veteran Ed Kinnaly as chief executive officer.
Based in New York, Kinnaly is taking the mantle from Flywheel’s cofounder Jay Galluzzo, who remains a member of the board of directors. In a phone interview Tuesday, Kinnaly said “a cavalcade of coincidences,” most notably meeting executive chairman and lead investor Lew Frankfort through a mutual friend, led to his joining Flywheel. With a successful consulting business up-and-running, Kinnaly said he wasn’t looking for a new role at that time, but the chance to work with Frankfort was too enticing to pass up.
Flywheel’s new ceo has a proven track record in the athletic industry. After a 12-year run at Nike, he then worked for Bauer until 2013, when he exited as executive vice president of global commerce for Bauer Performance Sports. There, he more than tripled global revenues to $380 million during a 10-year stretch.
A 13-time Boston Marathon finisher, Kinnaly, a self-described “workout-aholic,” said he started cycling to replace his obsession with running and now has become obsessed with cycling. For the past six years, he has been among the nonprofessional riders in the L’Étape du Tour, a one-day race along a stage of the Tour de France.
In April, the Frankfort-led Benvolio Group and the private equity firm Catterton Partners bolstered Flywheel’s financial investment. That round of investors also includes several other fashion industry executives, who all made personal investments: Andrew Rosen of Theory; Khajak Keledjian of Intermix, and Irving Place Capital’s John Howard. Global Endowment Management and a number of leading executives and entrepreneurs in the consumer goods and real estate sectors invested as well.
With 31 cycling clubs in the U.S. and two in Dubai, Kinnaly said he aims to double the Flywheel business in the next couple of years. Launching e-commerce, substantially increasing its own in-club retail spaces and introducing more performance-oriented styles — especially bottoms for Flywheel apparel — are other priorities. “We want to become the number-one brand in boutique fitness. Period. Hard stop. I think we have the product to do it and we certainly have the team to do it,” he said.
Sold in its own locations, the company’s branded activewear is overseen by Flywheel cofounder, creative director and class instructor Ruth Zukerman, with further direction provided by vice president Natalie Cohen Gould. Flywheel is also speaking with branding agencies about refreshing its image in the back half of this year, Kinnaly said.