The IRONMAN Group have announced the appointment of Scott DeRue as its Chief Executive Officer.
DeRue joins from Equinox, a global lifestyle brand and health and wellness business, where he served as President.
He succeeds Andrew Messick, who revealed last July that he was stepping down after 12 years as CEO, though he will remain a stakeholder and member of the Board of Directors alongside DeRue.
Under Messick’s leadership The IRONMAN Group became the world’s largest organiser of mass participation events and has expanded into road running, trail running, road cycling, mountain biking and digital training platforms.
Who is Scott DeRue?
The 46-year-old DeRue brings a wealth of experience to the role – at Equinox he oversaw 107 fitness clubs, a connected fitness platform, a large personal training and coaching practice, and digital commerce and media properties.
The press release said that during DeRue’s tenure: “He led the company through significant rebuilding and growth, with a clear focus on maximizing customer satisfaction and engagement.”
Prior to joining Equinox, DeRue served for five years as Dean of the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.
DeRue has notable endurance achievements to his name, though not yet in the triathlon sphere. He’s completed the 250km Gobi March ultramarathon but mountaineering has been his main passion – reaching the summits of Everest, Denali, Elbrus, Vinson, and Aconcagua, and he’s also led teams to the highest point in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro.
‘The focus will be on our athletes’
“I am honoured to join and lead this purpose-driven organisation that for 45 years has consistently tested the boundaries of human achievement and underscored the belief that ‘Anything is Possible’,” said DeRue of his appointment.
“My life has been deeply enriched by being part of the global endurance community and I feel incredibly fortunate to lead The IRONMAN Group in its mission to inspire people to be the best version of themselves through testing the limits of their physical and mental strength.”
Speaking to the media just ahead of the announcement he promised to take part in his first triathlon in the near future, saying the only question was whether to start with a 70.3 or jump straight into an IRONMAN.
Talking through the initial discussions and his main focus heading into the job, he added: “Sitting here today on day one, I can think of no organisation that is a better fit of my purpose and passion in life.
“I am honoured, humbled and extraordinarily eager to engage our community, listen, learn, and build the relationships that are going to really serve as the foundation for us going forward.
“The triathlon community is obviously a very big and significant part of that.
And I’ve got a lot to learn, and I come with the humility and recognition of that, and I look forward to it.
“And throughout the one promise that I will make is that our singular ambition is to invest in and serve our athlete community, and the focus will be on our athletes.”
Andrew Messick on his successor
Messick, who will serve as an advisor to DeRue to ensure a smooth transition, welcomed his successor by saying: “I am delighted to pass the baton to a leader of Scott’s experience and capabilities.
“His high energy and commitment level will inspire and motivate The IRONMAN Group’s employees, partners, and the triathlon, trail running, road running, and cycling communities.
“The company is in very capable hands, and I look forward to supporting his leadership of this amazing organisation.”
What are the immediate priorities?
It’s clear that 2024 promises to be a key year for the M-Dot brand.
On the triathlon front, the new IRONMAN Pro Series will showcase a series of their highest-profile races and is seen as a direct response to the PTO Tour, which will be announced in full within the next 24 hours.
And on the trail running side they have been in the news recently after legendary runner Kilian Jornet suggested there had been an increasing concern that the sport’s essence and its community was being overlooked since the UTMB World Series was launched in partnership with The IRONMAN Group.
That helped initiate what he called “productive discussions”, with the Catalan saying afterwards that he hopes to see positive developments moving forward, echoing that initial promise from DeRue to focus “on our athletes”.