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Peloton CEO steps down as the company cuts 2,800 jobs

February 8, 2022, 10:51 AM UTC
Updated February 8, 2022, 2:16 PM UTC

Peloton Interactive Chief Executive Officer John Foley has stepped down and will become executive chair, the company announced Tuesday.

The maker of exercise bikes that became a hot property during the pandemic will now shed about 2,800 jobs, affecting around 20% of corporate positions, the paper reported. Barry McCarthy, former chief financial officer at Spotify Technology SA, will become CEO and president.

Peloton’s shares have tumbled more than 80% from their all-time high a year ago, as the gradual easing of pandemic-era restrictions fueled concern that growth of the stay-home fitness company will slow.

Although the stock increased 31% on Monday after reports that it’s exploring takeover options, Peloton shares were down 13% to $25.92 apiece in premarket trading in New York on Tuesday. 

Foley’s departure may not be enough for Blackwells Capital LLC, which has a stake of less than 5%, and has called both for Foley’s resignation and for Peloton to explore a sale of the business. It has decried the CEO’s leadership, citing failed forecasting,  inconsistent strategy, and governance problems such as a lack of financial controls.

Blackwells published a presentation on Monday calling for the resignation of Chief Financial Officer Jill Woodworth and renewing demands for an immediate sale of the company. Blackwells said the company could fetch $75 a share in a sale to a strategic buyer such as Netflix Inc. or Spotify. 

Foley, a former Barnes & Noble Inc. e-commerce executive and cycling enthusiast, founded the company after posting a video to Kickstarter in 2013.

“Since founding Peloton a decade ago, we’ve grown this brand to engage and motivate a loyal community of more than 6.6 million members,” said Foley in a statement. “I’m incredibly proud to have worked with such talented teammates over the years who have helped me build Peloton into what it is today, and I’m confident that Barry is the right leader to take the company into its next phase of growth.”

At the of the end of last week, Peloton was valued at just over $8 billion, based on Friday’s official market close of $24.60 a share. That’s below its September 2019 initial public offering price of $29 a share.

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