CrossFit Inc. has a new owner and CEO.
That sentence alone places this past Wednesday as one of the most monumental days in the CrossFit community’s two decades of existence, and the early morning announcement that Greg Glassman would be selling the company sent shockwaves through the community as word spread quickly on social media. Affiliate owner and tech entrepreneur Eric Roza will step forward as the new owner and CEO of a company that has been beleaguered by controversy in recent weeks, and we’ve got the three big takeaways from CrossFit Inc.’s landmark announcement.
This isn’t Roza’s first rodeo: Both from a big business standpoint — where his track record very clearly stands out — and from a CrossFit standpoint as an affiliate owner, Roza brings a fresh perspective to the leadership position atop the company.
- Roza started Datalogix, a consumer data collection and analytics company, where he raised more than 85 million dollars in funding through multiple funding series and grew the company to roughly 400 employees.
- Datalogix built an impressive customer portfolio that included 82 of the top 100 advertisers, and 7 of the big 8 media publishers, providing insights on consumer spending north of 2 trillion dollars.
- The company was acquired by Oracle in December of 2014 for a reported $1.2 billion, after which Roza remained as the Senior Vice President for Oracle Data Cloud (ODC) for four years before retiring and since serving on multiple company boards, and as an executive of an investment group.
- In 2013 he started CrossFit Sanitas in downtown Boulder, Colorado. The gym is a 10,000 square foot facility with over 400 members and includes an infrared sauna, cold plunge and other amenities while being voted the “Best Place To Workout,” by the Colorado Daily newspaper and digital news publication every year since 2017.
He practices what he preaches: This hasn’t been a requirement in the past, but it is a bit of a relief that the owner of CrossFit for once will actually, you know, do CrossFit. The paradoxical nature of Greg Glassman’s physical health as the leader of a fitness company left many shrugging their shoulders and pointing to instead the work and physical prowess of the affiliates. Roza is an avid practitioner of the methodology and has a penchant for exercise and outdoor activity as a whole.
- At 52 years old he has a 2:40 Fran, and a sub-20 minute 5k amongst a handful of other strong benchmarks listed on his CrossFit Games profile, and has competed in the Open more than a half-dozen times.
- Roza is an avid skier as well, and he mentioned during his YouTube livestream alongside Dave Castro where he was introduced to the wider community that he tries to get in roughly 50 days of skiing per year.
- So much of CrossFit’s sense of community comes from the shared suffering and collective pursuit of health and personal growth, and the final sentence of Glassman’s brilliant “Fitness in 100 Words,” is “regularly learn and play new sports.” It is significant then that the person to lead CrossFit Inc. into the next era exemplifies those things on a personal level in his daily life.
More, and better, communication: One of CrossFit Inc.’s biggest knocks has always been its lack of communication and transparency with regards to actionable plans and operations starting with Glassman and trickling downwards. In the first day of Roza’s impending ownership, there has already been a clear and direct social media post/statement from Roza — echoed by the CrossFit, CrossFit Games, and Dave Castro’s channels — multiple tweets and statements from CrossFit to outside media on various channels, a YouTube livestream introduction to the community, and most importantly, content directly addressing some of the current issues and foundations of what to expect from Roza.
- Roza on Instagram: “My view is simple: Racism and sexism are abhorrent and will not be tolerated in CrossFit. We open our arms to everyone, and I will be working hard to rebuild bridges with those whose trust we have lost.”
- Roza on YouTube: “I’ve been CrossFitting for 10 years so I have a reasonable amount of grit to get through tough situations. I try to do it with a spirit of both optimism and realism, and a lot of humility. I see myself as a highly, you know, fallible person who makes a lot of mistakes, and I tend to own up to them and course correct.”
- Roza on the sport: “We have this incredibly unique opportunity with CrossFit, that the name on our 15,000 boxes around the world defines this sport, and I think we have even greater opportunity to capitalize on this opportunity to think about CrossFit all the way from somebody who comes into the gym to somebody who is on the podium at the Games.
- On his first Instagram post Roza publicized his company email to the masses and encouraged the community to reach out and contact him directly. It’s an unprecedented opening of communication channels as far as CrossFit Inc. goes, and Roza followed up with a 5:30 AM post Thursday morning highlighting the 1,200+ emails he’s received and is responding to personally.
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