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December 22, 2016

U.S. News

ViSalus CEO to Step Down, Succeeded by Co-Founder

Photo: ViSalus co-founders (left to right) Blake Mallen, Ryan Blair and Nick Sarnicola.


ViSalus will enter the new year with a new CEO, the health firm announced Thursday.

Longtime chief executive Ryan Blair is set to step down Jan. 1, after leading the company from its inception in 2005. Succeeding him is Nick Sarnicola, who co-founded ViSalus with Blair and company President Blake Mallen. Blair will remain active in the business as a board member and investor in addition to advising Sarnicola through the transition.

For the past two years, the leadership team has focused on cutting costs, restructuring debts and working to stabilize sales at ViSalus, after buying back a majority stake from Blyth Inc. Connecticut-based Blyth acquired ViSalus in 2012 for $792.4 million, but in 2014 the founders led a $148 million management buyout and subsequently took the company private.

“I spent the past 12 years pouring my blood, sweat and tears into ViSalus and am pleased with the current health of the business,” Blair said in a news release. “I leave the company in my fellow co-founder’s very capable hands.”

Blair’s ongoing work with ViSalus will focus on new technologies and business development strategies. In the near future, the serial entrepreneur also will be promoting his second book, Rock Bottom to Rock Star. The book offers business insights from Blair, who went from being an at-risk youth to a self-made millionaire by his early twenties.

As he resigns the top job at ViSalus, Blair is selling controlling interest in the company to an investor group led by Sarnicola. The heir apparent to the CEO position is the company’s top Promoter, or independent seller, with a business that has helped generate more than $1 billion in cumulative sales. Alongside his wife, Ashley, Sarnicola also has traveled the world as a Global Ambassador for ViSalus.

“I’m excited in this new role to combine my deep knowledge of the direct selling industry and my love of our Promoter force to build on the foundation we have created to take ViSalus to new heights,” said Sarnicola.

The company also announced that its vice president and general manager for Europe, Aldo Moreno, who also serves as chief information officer, is transitioning to the role of chief operating officer. In recent months, Moreno has managed the company’s launch in several European countries from a regional office in Amsterdam.