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Mountainside Fitness founder leaves CEO role, considers run for governor

Mountainside Fitness CEO Tom Hatten speaks to reporters at one of his health clubs in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Friday, July 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Terry Tang)

PHOENIX – Tom Hatten announced Friday that he’s stepped down as CEO of Mountainside Fitness but is remaining with the Valley gym chain he founded 30 years ago in another role.

Last week, Hatten told KTAR News 92.3 FM that he was considering a run for governor of Arizona. Friday’s announcement did not address any political ambitions.

The announcement that Craig Cote is taking over from Hatten as CEO came on the 30th anniversary of when the first Mountainside Fitness opened in Phoenix, according to a press release.

The job changes actually became official March 1, according to the release. Cote had been Mountainside’s president since 2015.

Hatten, who had been the company’s only CEO, is still the majority owner. He moved into the role of chairman of the board to focus on duties such as on Mountainside’s charitable endeavors.

“This has been an incredible journey these last 30 years and I am so thrilled that we continue to expand and do amazing things in our community all while changing lives for the better,” Hatten said in the release.

The move was originally planned to take place in 2020, according to the release, but was put on hold when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and Arizona’s fitness centers were ordered to shut down for a period.

Hatten made headlines last summer for his efforts, including a string of failed court challenges, to resist Gov. Doug Ducey’s closure orders.

Ducey’s position will be up for grabs in 2022 as his second term — his last under Arizona limits — comes to an end.

Mountainside is Arizona’s largest locally owned gym chain with 18 locations in metro Phoenix and several more on the way, according to the release.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Peter Samore contributed to this report.

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