Blacks Leisure has appointed Neil Gillis as chief executive and promoted Keith Fleming to the role of deputy chief executive and finance director with immediate effect.
Gillis was most recently chief executive of health and fitness business Esporta until it was sold by Duke Street Capital in May. He said: “I welcome the opportunity to drive the Blacks Leisure brands. This is a business in more high streets and locations across the UK than most, and its portfolio of brands has a special place in the nation’s hearts. The next few years will be full of opportunity.”
Gillis’s appointment follows intense shareholder pressure on Blacks Leisure chairman David Bernstein. Although Bernstein was understood to have favoured appointing acting chief executive Fleming to the position permanently, rebel shareholders including Sports Direct International and Principle Capital Investment Trust were firmly against his appointment. They had threatened to overrule the board if their views were not taken into account.
Former SRG and Moss Bros chief executive Adrian Wright was also linked to the post.