Member Article

Xercise4Less announce appointment of new CTO

Award-winning national gym operator Xercise4Less Gyms has today unveiled Renier Pretorius as its new Chief Technology Officer.

Pretorius joins from WHSmith, where he headed up the global IT architecture and strategy organisation as well as the innovation team.

Passionate about technology from a young age, Pretorius follows Peter Wright (Chief Executive Officer) and Helen Gauden (Chief Financial Officer) as the latest recruit to join the senior management team at Xercise4Less in a period of rapid expansion. The low-cost gym chain, with 52 sites nationwide, last year revealed £42m growth capital investment from the Swedish credit provider Proventus Capital Partners.

A 15-year industry veteran, Pretorius wrote his first line of code in high school and went on to study B.Sc. IT degree at the Rand Afrikaans University (now known as University of Johannesburg). Upon graduating, he started his career in technology as developer and application specialist at a supply chain software vendor.

Following three years working in his native South Africa, an urge to travel the world saw Pretorius move to London in 2006. After a number of developer and architect roles as a contractor in the financial and oil and gas sectors, Pretorius found a home at Avis Budget Group where he spent nearly five years.

During his term there Pretorius progressed through a number of roles and ended up Director of Architecture. His remit at Avis included not only defining the IT strategy to ensure the technology estate are able to underpin the business goals, but also the due diligence and integration of mergers and acquisitions. Among many highlights, Pretorius spearheaded the design of the innovative ‘Avis Now’ app in Europe – which revolutionised the consumer’s car hire user journey.

Pretorius then joined WHSmith in January 2018, where he led the global IT architecture and strategy organisation as well as the innovation team. Despite only being there for a short time, Pretorius was instrumental in the customer focused improvements across the business, including piloting scan & go and mobile point-of-sale.

In his role as Chief Technology Officer at Xercise4Less, Pretorius will be accountable for structuring the IT organising to ensure it can respond to the business needs; leading the digital transformation through design and development of an entirely new systems architecture (to include web front end, operational data hub, CRM, App and data warehouse); and optimising the technology spend and the return on investment.

Jon Wright, Founder of Xercise4Less, commented: “Renier was the standout candidate throughout the interview process and we’re thrilled to be bringing onboard someone with such pedigree. As a business, the IT infrastructure is something we’ve wanted to look at for a while now. Renier will be pivotal in implementing a fit for purpose architecture that improves the overall member experience.”

Renier Pretorius, Chief Technology Officer, added: “I am delighted to be joining a company that truly makes a positive difference in peoples’ lives and am honoured to be leading the digital journey Xercise4Less is embarking on to revolutionise the fitness space.”

Xercise4Less, which currently operates 52 clubs nationwide, is set to double in size by 2021.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Sandra Griffiths .

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