On Friday, Dec. 23, 2022, CrossFit announced in an email to affiliate owners that the General Manager (GM) of Affiliates, Gary Gaines, was no longer with them as of Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022. Gaines’ departure is the sixth C-suite and Director level executive to either leave or have ties cut by the company during the calendar year.
BarBend was able to confirm the contents of the email to affiliates with a statement from CrossFit:
“We can confirm that Gary Gaines is no longer with CrossFit. Austin Malleolo will be our interim GM of Affiliates. This transition will ensure that our affiliates are equipped with the tools and support they need to continue uniting and growing the CrossFit community.”
This is the first major move under the direction of CEO Don Faul, who was hired on Aug. 2, 2022.
Who Is Gary Gaines?
Gaines was one of former CEO Eric Roza’s first hires in September 2020 when he took over the reins of CrossFit earlier that summer. Gaines was brought over after serving as the Senior Vice President of Global Operations and studio experience at SoulCycle. He had executive experience working with Lyft and Tesla before that.
Gaines was one of the forward-facing employees of CrossFit, especially for the over 15,000 affiliated gyms. Under his direction, he and his team communicated with the affiliates to expand the CrossFit affiliate brand internationally. His team supported the health of the affiliates by facilitating communication and providing key business insights and resources to develop a more robust infrastructure of support.
During his time as GM of Affiliates, his team introduced the first-ever “Affiliate Playbook,” the Affiliate Partner Network, CrossFit Affiliate Programming, affiliate-only emails, and roundtables.
Most recently, Gaines and Faul traveled to Australia for the Down Under Championship to meet with affiliate owners. Before that, Gaines, Faul, and Dave Castro made a well-publicized trip to South America to meet with affiliate owners.
Who Is Austin Malleolo?
Malleolo is one of the more well-known and trusted names in CrossFit, having served under Gaines as the Director of North America Gym Operations. An eight-time CrossFit Games athlete and former affiliate owner, Malleolo has been an active member of the CrossFit seminar staff since 2010.
Malleolo played a significant role in creating and implementing many new affiliate programs under Gaines’ direction, particularly CrossFit Affiliate Programming.
What’s Happened So Far?
The first shake-up in leadership was the firing of Dave Castro from his position as General Manager of Sport on Jan. 4, 2022, by Roza. Castro was later hired back on June 8 as a special advisor to the CEO by interim CEO Alison Andreozzi.
Before CrossFit cut ties with Gaines, Erin Clift announced she was leaving CrossFit as their Chief Marketing Officer on September 14th. On August 26th, Jason Dunlop left CrossFit as their President to take on the role of International President of Orangetheory Fitness.
On May 16, Jeremy Landis announced he was stepping down from his position as CrossFit’s Chief Technology Officer. The most significant move happened on February 3rd when Roza stepped down as CEO and transitioned into a role as Chairman of the Board of CrossFit.
These positions, minus the CEO, have yet to be filled as CrossFit has enacted a “hiring freeze” since Faul was hired. The removal of Gaines leaves yet another key position within CrossFit empty, and perhaps it’s most important.
Featured image: @ggaines19 on Instagram