NZ Local News

Les Mills International looking at job cuts as customers switch back to in-person workouts

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People were forced to work-out at home during the pandemic. Now, they want to be back doing in-person classes. Photo / 123RF

A “small” number of people working for Les Mills International in mostly tech and digital management roles could lose their jobs as the company switches focus back to in-person workout programmes after the pandemic, chief executive Phillip Mills says.

The Herald was told by an informant 60 roles were affected by restructuring, but Mills said it was fewer than that.

He wouldn’t say how many people were impacted as consultation is taking place until March 25 and those affected, who are in New Zealand and overseas, may be able to move into other roles with the company.

“We’re looking after people.”

Asked if new roles would be like-for-like, he said they’d be “good roles that are using their skills in different ways.”

“I think that the vast majority of them will take them.”

Phillip Mills is the chief executive and founder of Les Mills International. File photo / Steven McNicholl
Phillip Mills is the chief executive and founder of Les Mills International. File photo / Steven McNicholl

The roles affected by the restructuring are all management positions, mostly in tech and digital, and those who work to support the affected managers, he said.

Around 650 people work for Les Mills International, about half of them in New Zealand.

The company is separate from Les Mills New Zealand, which was started in 1968 by Mills’ father, Olympian Les Mills, and has 12 clubs nationwide and more than 60,000 members.

There is no restructuring taking place at Les Mills New Zealand, Mills said.

The Les Mills International restructures come after people flocked back to live fitness programmes after the forced switch to online programmes during Covid-19 lockdowns, he said.

It was not because of falling revenue.

“During the pandemic, we hired up significantly around digital fitness, around online fitness. We’re now shifting the company back to our traditional live B2B (business to business) licensing to gyms around the world.”

Growth was in live fitness programmes.

“Live was really badly hurt by Covid and it’s taken a few years to limp back into action, but it’s really coming back strong in New Zealand and around the world now.

“That’s where our strategy is … there’s not really any growth anymore in the online business, but there’s big growth in the live business.”

Les Mills supplies its programmes to 22,000 gyms around the world, with each taking about five of their programmes on average, equating to around six million workouts globally each week.

Cherie Howie is an Auckland-based reporter who joined the Herald in 2011. She has been a journalist for more than 20 years and specialises in general news and features.

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