Solidcore founder Anne Mahlum will step down as the boutique workout group’s CEO on April 19, according to a press release issued this morning. Bryan Myers, Solidcore’s president and chief operating officer, will take over as CEO, and Mahlum will transition to executive chairperson.
Mahlum launched Solidcore in 2013, starting with a studio in Adams Morgan and eventually expanding to 71 locations across the country. Similar to other fitness groups, Solidcore took a big hit during the pandemic: It laid off 98 percent of its staff in March 2020, and was financially impacted by Covid-19 shutdowns and capacity limits. However, Solidcore announced in February that a private equity group, VMG Partners, was investing in the company to facilitate an expansion, and last year Solidcore joined Equinox’s Variis platform to digitally stream its workouts.
Mahlum hasn’t been without controversy. For a time, she was famously warring with both her ex-boyfriend and a Los Angeles fitness entrepreneur over Solidcore’s founding. She drew ire early in the Trump administration for publicizing her angst after Ivanka Trump supposedly attended a Solidcore class under an alias. More recently, Mahlum was in the news for defying DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s order suspending indoor workout classes. After Bowser issued new restrictions in light of rising Covid cases, Solidcore released a statement saying it would continue to operate as usual, and believed it could do so safely. Shortly after issuing the letter, the fitness company temporarily closed its DC studios after a visit from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. They have since reopened.
And a BuzzFeed story published last summer described a toxic work environment under Mahlum, where Solidcore employees and coaches were allegedly harassed and belittled, and sufficient Covid protocols were not instituted. In the article, Solidcore did not directly address the allegations made by instructors and employees, but did say its studios comply with all regulations. Additionally, a group of Solidcore employees and contractors banded together last summer as the group Solidcore United, due to concerns that the group could do more to protect its workers.
According to the press release, Mahlum’s move from CEO to executive chairperson has been in the works for quite some time and was supposed to happen last year. However, due to the pandemic, the transition was delayed. Myers has been at Solidcore since 2017, and was previously Sweetgreen’s Vice President of Finance, Strategy, and Development.