Peloton CEO John Foley to step down, transition to executive chair as company cuts 2,800 jobs, says report

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John Foley, CEO of Peloton.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Peloton plans to replace CEO John Foley and cut 2,800 jobs as it hopes to restructure its business amid waning demand, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Barry McCarthy, the former chief financial officer of Spotify and Netflix, will become CEO and president and join Peloton’s board, the report said.

The job cuts are expected to impact about 20% of Peloton’s corporate positions, but won’t affect Peloton’s instructor roster or content, according to the Journal. The company employed 6,743 people in the United States as of June 30, more than double the roughly 3,281 employees it counted a year earlier, according to annual filings.

A Peloton spokesperson did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Peloton shares were falling more than 4% in premarket trading on Tuesday, having closed Monday up nearly 21%. As of Monday, the stock is down about 31% year to date.

The news of Foley stepping down comes ahead of Peloton’s fiscal second-quarter results, which are scheduled to be reported after the market closes on Tuesday. In January, Peloton reported preliminary quarterly revenue and subscriber figures, but it has yet to address its full-year outlook, which analysts and investors expect will be lowered.

Peloton told the Journal it expects to cut roughly $800 million in annual costs and reduce capital expenditures by roughly $150 million this year.

The company also said in the report that it plans to wind down the development of its Peloton Output Park, the $400 million factory that it was building in Ohio. It said it will reduce its delivery teams and the amount of warehouse space it owns and operates.

William Lynch, Peloton’s president, is also expected to step down from his executive role but remain on the board, Foley said in an interview with the Journal.

Erik Blachford, a director since 2015, is expected to leave the board. And two new directors will be added, the Journal said: Angel Mendez, who runs a private artificial intelligence company focused on supply chain management, and Jonathan Mildenhall, former chief marketing officer of Airbnb.

Roughly a week ago, activist Blackwells Capital — which has a less than 5% stake in the company — sent a letter to Peloton’s board urging Foley to quit his role as CEO, and asking the company to consider selling itself.

Reports have since circulated that potential suitors could include Amazon or Nike. However, Foley along with other Peloton insiders had a combined voting control of roughly 80% as of Sept. 30, which would make it practically impossible for any deal to go through without their approval.

Foley, 51, founded Peloton in 2012. He previously served as the president at Barnes & Noble.

Lynch, a former Barnes & Noble CEO, was brought on by Foley in 2017 to help drive growth.

The duo helped lead Peloton through its highs during the Covid pandemic, when the company saw consumer demand massively pulled forward. Consumers were looking to exercise without going to the gym. But to meet the surge in demand, Foley over invested and Peloton was left with a bloated cost structure that must now restructure in order for the business to survive.

Peloton’s market value had surged to roughly $50 billion about a year ago, but was recently hovering around just $8 billion, before news over takeover talks started circulating.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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