How the Fitness Industry is responding to COVID-19

How the Fitness Industry is responding to COVID-19

In this segment of the Business of Health, Gisèle WERTHEIM AYMéS – Founder World of Longevity interviews a panel of leaders in the fitness industry on what is happening in this industry, how their businesses are pivoting during COVID-19, addressing the shift to a more digital fitness model, as well as addressing safety requirements in preparation for centres re-opening.

The panel includes:

  • Nikki Cockroft, Global Chief Marketing and Technology Officer for Virgin Active Global,
  • Boris Leyck, Founder and Managing Director of BodyTec South Africa,
  • Emma Heap, Director of and
  • Jenni Rivett, International fitness and wellness consultant.

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About Nikki Cockroft

I graduated from UCT with a business degree in Information Systems and a post-graduate in Marketing. After starting my career as IT Manager at Acceleration I soon realized my passion for online media and thereafter moved into the position of Campaign Manager.

In March 2003, I joined 365 Digital as Business Development Manager, progressing through the ranks to become CEO. As CEO, I successfully introduced additional business areas including that of web development, ad operations and content syndication. After building 365 Digital into a profitable business, I oversaw a successful Management Buyout of the business and subsequent sale to Primedia.

I was appointed as CEO of Primedia Online ( and 365 Digital) a year later in September 2007 and in 2010 I added to my role through the appointment as CEO of Prezence Agency.

In July 2011, I moved to retail giant Woolworths as Group Head of Online, with the task of leading the Omni-channel retail strategy. In 5 years, I established the Online Business within the group through the development of an award winning responsive ecommerce website, a leading online team scouted from across the globe and effective marketing of the business. Woolworths is currently a leading online retailer in South Africa.

In 2017 I dedicated my time to Digital Transformation and Omni channel projects at Investec, Woolworths, Primedia, the Foschini Group, Pres Les and Red&Yellow. These companies follow the same ambitions of being customer-first organizations. As a specialist in all things data, digital transformation and marketing I led them through various journeys to truly grow their customer base through loyalty and experiences whilst building up a new, younger customer base.

In 2018, I was appointed the Chief Global Marketing and Technology Officer for Virgin Active. In my current role as an executive leader of the business , I prepare the Digital Transformation Strategy, and execute the change to a product-led business through direct management of Marketing & Technology teams across 6 markets: Italy, UK, Singapore, Thailand, Australia and South Africa. I am an active team member from strategy through to execution, I am a fire-starter and enjoy transforming this business from one that sells subscriptions to gym facilities to a product-led business available in the club, online and outdoors.

Source: LinkedIn