Brent Darden Named IHRSA Interim President and CEO
August 21, 2020
BOSTON, MA—August 21, 2020—The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) announced that the Board of Directors has appointed Mr. Brent Darden as Interim President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.
Brent’s background in fitness industry leadership roles is extensive. He earned his master’s degree in exercise science from Baylor University and began his career as a front desk attendant and fitness floor instructor at the First Baptist Church of Waco Life Recreation Center. He later was employed in a variety of positions in different fitness operating models including a regional multi-club group, a large independent athletic facility, and a niche group exercise studio.
Brent went on to work in the corporate wellness arena, serving as the Wellness Director for Texas Instruments and Northern Telecom, two of the most comprehensive employee wellness programs in the country. While at Texas Instruments, Brent created the “Commitment In Action” (CIA) initiative, which was recognized by the National Employee Recreation & Services Association, as the annual “Best Employee Wellness Incentive Program.”
Following his achievements in corporate wellness, Brent was recruited to serve as Vice President of the renowned Cooper Aerobic Enterprises, working alongside Dr. Kenneth Cooper. During his tenure, he provided leadership for the Fitness Center and In-Residence Wellness Program, and oversaw the opening of the Cooper Spa, and establishment of the Cooper Consulting Division. While on the Cooper campus, he was recognized by IHRSA, as “General Manager of the Year.”
In 2003, Brent and his partner took over the failed North Dallas Athletic Club, renovating and relaunching it as the luxurious Telos Fitness Center. After completing a “Texas-Sized Turnaround” as one article labeled it, Telos was named one of the few independently owned organizations included in the “Top 100 US Health Clubs” according to Club Industry Magazine. Telos was also recognized as N. Dallas “Business of the Year,” awarded the “Greater Dallas Business Ethics Award,” and received a litany of industry accolades.
From 2010 through 2015, Brent served on the IHRSA Board of Directors, as Nominations Committee Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Chairperson of the Board, and Ex-Officio. Since that time he has advised a number of fitness brands and delivered keynote presentations around the world on leadership, employee engagement, customer experience, strategy, and brand frameworks, among other topics.
IHRSA board member Brad Wilkins had this to say about Mr. Darden’s appointment as IHRSA’s interim CEO: “I’ve had the privilege to know Brent for 25 years and his experience in the fitness industry as an owner, educator, speaker, board member and leader are bar none. The IHRSA board of directors are excited to work with Brent and the IHRSA staff to continue its 40-year history of growing, protecting, and promoting the health and fitness industry, and to provide its members with the benefits that will help them be more successful than ever before.”
Joe Moore’s departure as President and CEO was announced by the IHRSA Board of Directors on Tuesday, August 18. Joe had been President and CEO since 2006.