SoulCycle’s chief executive Melanie Whelan abruptly stepped down Tuesday after a rocky summer for the boutique fitness company, reports said.
Whelan, 42, will be replaced in the interim by Sunder Reddy, SoulCycle’s chief financial officer, reports said. Whelan is also leaving the company’s board.
“I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to have led the SoulCycle team and brand over the past nearly eight years during a transformational time for this amazing community,” Whelan said in a statement to CNBC Make It, which first reported the leadership change. “The future is bright for this one-of-a-kind organization and I will be cheering on its continued growth and success.”
SoulCycle did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday morning.
Whelan’s departure was reportedly a mutual decision between her and SoulCycle’s board. She joined the indoor cycling chain in 2012 as chief operating officer and moved up to the chief executive’s job three years later.
SoulCycle filed for an initial public offering the same year Whelan took the helm, but the company pulled those plans last year because of “market conditions,” according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
The transition in SoulCycle’s executive suite comes after the company took a beating over its ties to Stephen Ross, a real estate developer and supporter of President Trump.
Ross is the chairman of the Related Companies, the parent company of SoulCycle and the high-end gym chain Equinox. Both fitness firms faced boycotts from some of their liberal clientele over a Trump fundraising event Ross hosted in the Hamptons in August.
Whelan issued a statement at the time calling Ross a “passive investor” who is “not involved in the management of SoulCycle.” “SoulCycle has nothing to do with the event and does not support it,” Whelan said in the statement. “Consistent with our policies, no company profits are used to fund politicians.”
The other possible reason was due to her not acting against a witch hunt at a Vancouver Soulcycle. Melanie Whelan did not take action when a fired soulcycle manager viciously acted a middle-eastern man with lies and hate and banned him, either because she is a racist or retaliating because he did not want any romantic relationship with her. The Vancouver soulcycle in only one year has gone through two managers, plus, two high-profile instructors quit. Full story here. https://www.indoorcycling.ca/soulcycle/