The IRONMAN Group has announced the appointment of Scott DeRue as its Chief Executive Officer. DeRue joins The IRONMAN Group from Equinox where he served as President. DeRue will join The IRONMAN Group’s Board of Directors.
DeRue’s career has been dedicated to creating life-changing experiences that help people discover and maximize their potential. At Equinox, DeRue oversaw a global lifestyle brand and health and wellness business that included 107 fitness clubs, a connected fitness platform, a large personal training and coaching practice, and digital commerce and media properties. During DeRue’s tenure, he led the company through significant rebuilding and growth, with a clear focus on maximizing customer satisfaction and engagement, which allowed Equinox to rebound successfully from the pandemic, inspire innovation, and achieve record-level operating performance and engagement with the company’s community of members and subscribers. Before his appointment as President, DeRue served for three years as an independent director on the Equinox board.
Prior to joining Equinox, DeRue served for five years as Dean of the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, where he and his team led the school to strong success setting new records in brand rankings, admissions, research, financial performance and fundraising. Prior to becoming Dean, DeRue held various faculty and leadership positions at Michigan for over a decade, taught and advised companies on team performance and organizational transformation, and was recognized as one of the 50 most influential business professors in the world. He began his career with the Monitor Group (now part of Deloitte) as an analyst for the company’s private equity business, and subsequently served as a management consultant and leader on corporate strategy and organizational transformation projects for companies in consumer retail, financial services, healthcare, and technology.
In addition to his broad business and managerial expertise, DeRue has long been a passionate member of the endurance community, having completed the 250km Gobi March ultramarathon, reached the summits of Everest, Denali, Elbrus, Vinson, and Aconcagua, and led teams to the highest point in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro.
In his role as The IRONMAN Group CEO, DeRue will lead the world’s largest organizer of mass participation events with a portfolio of hundreds of world-class events across more than 50 countries in triathlon, running, trail running, road cycling, and mountain biking and a suite of digital training platforms and programs for athletes. He will leverage his background with engaged athletic and academic communities to intensify the focus on the athlete journey and experience, ensuring The IRONMAN Group endurance brands continue to harness the passion and drive of athletes, sponsors, volunteers, and employees to host life-changing events, deliver compelling opportunities for athlete enrichment, and celebrate the human spirit for many years to come.
“We are thrilled to bring someone of Scott’s talent and experience to The IRONMAN Group. Scott is a dynamic leader with a unique track record of driving transformation and growth in different roles and environments,” said Janine Shelffo, Group President and Chief Growth & Strategy Officer at Advance. “He deeply respects the passion of endurance athletes driven to do hard things and understands how that leads to personal transformation, having experienced it personally as an endurance runner and mountaineer.”
Jesse Du Bey, Managing Partner of Orkila Capital, added, “The IRONMAN Group leadership team is full of amazing people with decades of experience in endurance sports. Scott will bring a fresh perspective, which combined with respect for the legacy of The IRONMAN Group’s historic brands, an understanding of the importance of customer-centricity, and focus on innovation, will be a great thing for our sports, communities, and company.”
“I am honoured to join and lead this purpose-driven organization that for 45 years has consistently tested the boundaries of human achievement and underscored the belief that Anything is Possible,” said DeRue “ “My life has been deeply enriched by being part of the global endurance community and I feel incredibly fortunate to lead The IRONMAN Group in its mission to inspire people to be the best version of themselves through testing the limits of their physical and mental strength.”
DeRue earned a BS with Honours in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kenan-Flagler Business School, and a Ph. D. in Business Administration from the Eli Broad Graduate School of Management at Michigan State University. DeRue is a board member of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and a trustee of The Conference Board. DeRue and his wife, Kathy, are relocating to Tampa, Florida, where The IRONMAN Group is headquartered.
DeRue succeeds Andrew Messick, who announced his retirement in July 2023 after 12 years as CEO. Messick will remain a member of the Board of Directors for The IRONMAN Group, as well as serve as an advisor to DeRue to ensure a smooth and successful transition for the company and the sports it serves.
“I am delighted to pass the baton to a leader of Scott’s experience and capabilities,” said Messick. “His high energy and commitment level will inspire and motivate The IRONMAN Group’s employees, partners, and the triathlon, trail running, road running, and cycling communities,” said Messick. “The company is in very capable hands, and I look forward to supporting his leadership of this amazing organization.”