CEO Don Faul Talks Education, Growth, and the Way Forward for HQ
In the middle of two back-to-back sold-out days at the North America West Semifinal in Pasadena, CA, CrossFit held a press conference with CEO Don Faul. Just nine months into his tenure, Faul talked of his 2030 goal of having 30 million CrossFit athletes by the end of the decade, how the brand intends to get there, and recapped his time in the position so far.
He cited the Magic of CrossFit series and a 40% increase in traffic to CrossFit.com as trademarks of growth over the last year, and said he hopes this is a step in the right direction towards bringing in more athletes.
- “I’m really proud of the work the team has done across a number of different fronts,” Faul said. “Starting first and foremost, how do we get to 30 million people? Our first area of focus as a company is growth. How do we expose more people to the company, how do we get more people into affiliates?”
One of the big ways Faul intends to drive traffic into affiliates? Further education for coaches. He speaks highly of the Level 1 certification, which he says he never had the intention of taking until coming into his new role but has benefited immensely. Beyond that, though, the team at HQ is working on a number of new options.
The Foundations course, which is still in a very early stage of development, will be a one-day course geared towards athletes not ready to take their Level 1 yet. Also, a new US Army Physical Readiness program helps participants get in better shape and is reaping great benefits, Faul said.
- “(The Seminar staff) are absolutely amazing and incredible. They’ve been working really hard to build our next generation of coaches,” Faul said. “We know these are the men and women that day-in and day-out are changing lives.”
Faul also addressed recent layoffs at HQ which saw the on-staff population drop by 20%. This decision has been met with criticism from the community, but Faul was confident in the move.
- “I’ll acknowledge, coming into last year we took a look at our priorities and I made the decision to reallocate some of our focus,” Faul said. “Running these events takes an extraordinary amount of work…when I looked at overall allocation and the amount of time and resources we were putting towards sport, I felt like we needed to adjust.”
Faul acknowledged that the brand is at the very beginning of the process of meeting its goal, and even admitted that some of its decisions may not work out in the long run (“we’re not going to bat a thousand,” he said). But Faul was not discouraged and instead brought the conversation back to the a core CrossFit value:
- Faul: “We’ve done incredible work but I know that we can raise the bar. In CrossFit, we talk about virtuosity, doing the common uncommonly well and I want that to be the spirit that we bring to everything we do–how we support affiliates, how we train coaches, to how we deliver an extraordinary experience for sport for athletes and fans.”