• SoulCycle’s new CEO took over the helm in December after a turbulent year for the company.
  • SoulCycle had to close studios for much of 2020 accusations a toxic workplace.
  • The new CEO, Evelyn Webster, told CNBC that she was asked, “What on earth were you thinking?”

Evelyn Webster, the new CEO of SoulCycle, has a big job ahead of her.

The former media manager, who joined in December, is charged not only with bringing the business back to life – SoulCycle studios closed during the pandemic – but also bringing up reports the company was promoting a toxic work culture.

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“People have been asking me since I got here, ‘What on earth were you thinking?’ Basically joining a boutique fitness store and a retail store in the middle of a pandemic? ”Webster said in an interview with CNBC’s Lauren Thomas.

“What I knew is that we wouldn’t be in the pandemic forever,” she said.

SoulCycle, along with other gyms and gyms, had to close its doors during the pandemic to help curb the spread of infection. Some of these companies Filed for bankruptcy in 2020 – but Webster says she relies on the “magic of the soul” to bring back the company’s glory days in the mid-2010s.


Like many gym fitness managers, she hopes people will return to personal fitness classes soon.

“There will always be a real need to connect with your community,” she said. “And community is SoulCycle’s superpower.” Ironically, the idea of ​​”community” is exactly what SoulCycle’s home fitness rivals like Peloton have advocated for. Sales of Peloton’s home fitness equipment grew exponentially during the pandemic, leading experts to question whether consumers who spent $ 2,000 on a Peloton bike would be willing to spend money on in-studio classes as well.

“One must either assume that people have now switched to a stronger association with the home, or they will expand their fitness wallets,” said Marc Magliacano, managing partner at L Catterton, a private equity firm that previously invested in both Peloton and Equinox (owned by SoulCycle) said insider. “And it’s hard to make that statement all in one recession,” he said.

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SoulCycle now has its own version of the fitness bike connected at homeHowever, the in-studio courses are still at the core of the business concept.

The “magic of the soul” also relies on SoulCycle to address issues in its corporate culture that are in a explosive investigation by Katie Warren from Business Insider. In interviews with more than 30 instructors, studio staff, and company employees, Warren shared issues of racism, discrimination, and homophobia among SoulCycle instructors that the company reportedly turned a blind eye to.

At the time, SoulCycle said, “If we receive complaints or allegations about behaviors in our community that are inconsistent with our values, we take them very seriously and investigate and address them.”

Webster told CNBC that she has “read quite a bit of coverage” and that “there is likely a fair amount of opportunity and work to work around the organization’s culture”. “We talk a lot about how we are a culture of diversity, inclusion, acceptance and love,” she said, adding, “Our drivers see and experience this, but we need to see this, as do potential instructors and potential colleagues. ”