Eric Roza will be the new owner and CEO of CrossFit, which was sold to him by Greg Glassman. Roza, a CrossFit athlete himself, founded a CrossFit affiliate gym called CrossFit Sanitas in Boulder, Colorado in 2010.
According to a statement from the current CrossFit CEO Dave Castro, Roza also opened CrossFit gyms (called “boxes” in the CrossFit world) at his tech company, Datalogix and their eventual parent company Oracle.
Of the incoming CEO who will take over in July, Castro wrote, “Eric knows what it’s like to run a box through tough times. He has faced the same issues with payroll and rent during COVID-10, and … he also knows how to build great, inclusive workplaces.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Roza Is A Former Oracle
Roza, now 52, started a very successful data company that was eventually purchased by Oracle. According to his profile, his company grew to employ 2,000 people and was “named a top 100 company to work for by both Fortune and Outside Magazines. https://crossfitsanitas.com/team
Oracle released a press release when it acquired Datalogix at the end of 2014. Datalogix is described as a consumer-targeting marketing tool that “connects offline purchasing data to digital media to improve audience targeting and measure sales impact.” According to Oracle, the company gathers data on $2 trillion in consumer spending and has 110 million households as well as 650 corporate customers — including Ford, Kraft, Facebook and Twitter — under its purview.
His Oracle biography lists him as the senior vice president and general manager of the Oracle Data Cloud, which annually brings in $10 billion from its products. According to Boxrox, Roza “is now working for US venture capitalists General Catalyst.”
Roza left Oracle in the summer of 2019.
2. Roza Picked Up CrossFit Twelve Years Ago
According to his profile, Roza is a “lifelong fitness nut” who discovered CrossFit in 2008 following a running injury he received while training for a 100-mile ultramarathon. He is also certified as a CrossFit level 2 trainer.
Some of Roza’s benchmarks include a 395-deadlift, 240-pound clean and jerk, 345-pound back squat, 190-pound snatch and 64 pull-ups, Boxrox reported. His 400-meter sprint time is reported at one minute and eight seconds, while his 5k run pace is 19:55. Roza also said that he achieved a two-minute-40-second Fran (an alternating series of 21-15-9 thrusters and pull-ups, totaling to 90 repetitions) at the age of 50.
His highest rank in the CrossFit games came in 2013 in the Masters Men (45-49) competition, when he was 165th.
He runs CrossFit Sanitas with his now ex-wife, Melissa Roza. According to her profile, she used to run Chateau Weddings, which coordinated destination weddings in France and Italy and she also has a background in investment banking; the couple had four children, including a set of twins.
3. Roza Introduced CrossFit To His Employees At Oracle
Roza told the New York Times in 2013, “My enthusiasm for CrossFit knows no bounds,” which is why he arranged for his employees to receive CrossFit classes twice a week at Datalogix.
Roza hired a former marine to teach the classes, in which roughly 25% of his headquarters staff participated. The free access was part of the company’s fitness initiative, which Roza said cost about $25,000 per year.
According to what many employees told the Times, doing CrossFit with their co-workers helped boost morale and brought people together who may have never met otherwise. “If you can sweat and groan and moan with your co-workers, you’ll have no problem working with them in a meeting,” said Karin Eisenmenger, Datalogix’s director of order management at the time.
4. Roza Officially Introduced Himself June 24
He said he had visited two or three dozen “boxes” in five different countries and each time, he knew CrossFit was meant for him. “It felt like home to me immediately for the first time I went to CrossFit,” he said. “It just felt like home every time I got in there. It was an inclusive environment where I could work out like crazy, be dying on the floor afterward stretching out with buddies. I always looked forward to it.”
On being named the owner and CEO, Roza said, “I literally feel like the luckiest guy in the world today.”
He also announced that he had received his level 2 CrossFit training certification and weightlifting certification, although, he joked, “You wouldn’t be able to tell that from my technique.”
He also talked about his vision for the company’s future:
I’m big on, kind of, ‘what is your North star?’ The end goal here is to be the most important force int the world that is spreading health and fitness and happiness, frankly. CrossFit has consistently been one of the things that made me the happiest …
I think you’ve got to have that humility and I think you got to have that in everything you do and that includes running our business as affiliate owners and running — leading — CrossFit, Inc. CrossFit HQ stuff you and I need to think about, Dave. So I think you’ve got to be humble, you’ve got to be listening, you’ve got to be learning, you’ve got to be sharing experiences … and that’s how you get better.
His introductory Instagram statement and video have received mostly positive reviews, as comments on the site CrossFit reflected; most complaints had to do with the fee scale, which starts at $3,000 plus insurance.
5. Roza Bought The Company from Former CEO, Greg Glassman
Protesters nationwide filled the streets when George Floyd died in police custody after a now-former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was shown in a video pressing his knee into the back of Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes. Activists have since demanded justice for Floyd and systemic police reform.
However, Glassman responded to the news in a series of tweets, making light of the situation by tweeting ‘FLOYD-19’ and complaining about quarantine; in response, many gyms and companies such as Reebok dropped their affiliation with the gym.
Even after his apology, the South China Morning Post reported, he continued to antagonize employees who criticized his response, telling one affiliate owner named Alyssa Royse, “You’re doing your best to brand us as racist and you know it’s bulls*** … That makes you a really s****y person. Do you understand that? You’ve let your politics warp you into something that strikes me as wrong to the point of being evil. I am ashamed of you.”
Eventually, Glassman resigned and the company posted his message on Instagram:
In regards to the damage done by Glassman’s comments, Roza wrote in his Instagram introduction:
In the past weeks, divisive statements and allegations have left many members of our community struggling to reconcile our transformative experiences in the local box with what we’ve been reading online.
My view is simple: Racism and sexism are abhorrent and will not be tolerated in CrossFit. We open our arms to everyone, and I will be working hard to rebuild bridges with those whose trust we have lost.