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David Pruitt steps down as Performance CEO; Pat Cunnane becomes interim president

Published November 15, 2016

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (BRAIN) — David Pruitt, a longtime Performance Bicycle employee who helped negotiate the retail chain's sale to Advanced Sports International, has stepped down as CEO effective this week. Pat Cunnane, ASI's CEO, has been named Performance's interim president. Cunnane also remains CEO of ASI and Advanced Sports Enterprises, the newly formed parent company of ASI and Performance.

ASI, the parent of Fuji, Breezer, Kestrel, SE Bikes and other brands, purchased Performance in August.

Cunnane told BRAIN on Tuesday that getting more involved in the retail operations will help in developing a plan to roll out Performance retail locations internationally, which is a key part of ASE's plans for the chain. Cunnane said he expects Performance will name a new president in the spring. In the meantime, Cunnane will split his time between ASI and Performance responsibilities. Performance is headquartered in Chapel Hill; ASI is based in Philadelphia. 

Pruitt joined Performance in 1990 and was named CEO in 2011. 

"David was phenomenal during the transaction and the transition," Cunnane said. "As is often the case, these things evolved. I think he wanted to try some other things, but he was quite happy with the transition and I've been really happy with how helpful he’s been with me." Cunnane said he and Pruitt have been planning the change for "quite some time," but only announced it to staff this week. 

Cunnane said some of ASI's international distributors are very interested in having Performance stores opened in their markets. He declined to say which international markets are likely to see new Performance stores first. So far, all of Performance's 106 locations are in the U.S.

"I felt it was really important for me to get more involved here (at Performance), to understand the business more and to have a better relationship with other suppliers," Cunnane said. "One of the big reasons for acquiring Performance was the potential to expand it internationally, and in order for ASI to do that effectively I need to understand it better."

While Cunnane's role at Performance is clearly on an executive level, he joked that he "started out in this business in a bike shop, and now I'm in one again." Cunnane did say he planned to work on the floor at a Performance retail location on the Friday after Thanksgiving. 

"I'll do whatever they need me to do. They probably won't let me work on bikes, although I used to be good at it," he said.

Cunnane said in the three months since the purchase, Performance has neither opened nor closed any locations, but the chain plans to add five or six U.S. stores in the next year or so.

The purchase has not affected ASI's bike sales to its existing dealers, Cunnane said, noting that ASI dealers near Performance stores are already accustomed to competing with them, so the purchase doesn't change the dynamic. 

"(Sales) have not been negatively affected, really, which we are really happy about because we weren’t sure," he said.

Cunnane said that besides sales through Performance, ASI bike sales are "off a little" since last year in dollars, but unit sales are up, in part because of new lower-priced Fuji bike models. He said the SE Bikes brand, in particular, has been a top performer recently.

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