Telling the truth about SME life today

Name: Fred Turok

Age: 57

Company: LA Fitness

Turnover: Approx £100m

First job: When I was 11, I worked at the residence of the President of Tanzania looking after his horses 

Dream job: Sailing yachts around the world 

Car: BMW

Economy, business or first-class: Depends on who is paying! If I?m travelling privately, I fly economy (unless it’s a long-haul flight, then I go business). If I am travelling for my charity TAG, it’s economy all the way

Most extravagant purchase: Armani suit and shoes for £1,500″ and I have never worn either. As you can imagine, my wife continually reminds me of this.

Most played song on your iPod: It changes every week depending on my mood. At the moment, I’m listening to the Rolling Stones.

Business book: To be honest, I have never finished one. I am dyslexic and find the language overly complex and the concepts too theoretical. I prefer to learn on the job so that’s how I have gained my knowledge and experience over the years

Worst business moment: When I failed to get enough institutional support for an AIM listing in 1994. Fortunately 3i backed me and invested the full amount as long as I remained private.

Proudest business moment: Definitely achieving a full listing for LA Fitness on the stock market in 1996 

Business mentor: I have never really had one. Instead, I have chosen to build teams with complimentary skills to my own and then provide leadership and direction. That said, my wife has always provided me with challenge and support over the years.

Next big thing: I have two. Firstly, I am committed to growing a charity that I set-up called TAG (Transforming a Generation), which focuses on getting unemployed 18-24 year olds into work. Secondly, as chair of the Physical Activity Network, I want to use my business experience to improve public health and encourage Brits to be more physically active.


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