Life Leisure CEO steps down after 14 years at the helm

Life Leisure CEO steps down after 14 years at the helm

Malcolm McPhail, group CEO of Life Leisure has stepped down from the role after 14 years.

Malcolm leaves following a string of successes at the social enterprise, which runs leisure services across Stockport and Barrow on behalf of the local councils.

As well as winning numerous national and regional accolades, Malcolm was responsible for spearheading the acquisition of Stockport Sports Village and the group’s expansion into Barrow, Cumbria.

Malcolm, who has more than 35 years’ experience in the leisure industry, said: “After 14 successful years, I have taken the decision to leave Life Leisure to pursue new opportunities. This has been one of the hardest decisions in my professional career I’ve had to make, but feel now is the right time for me to take on new ventures and for Life Leisure to flourish with a new leadership team in place.

“I would like to thank all the colleagues I have worked with over the years. I would also like to thank Stockport Council and Barrow Council for our constructive working relationship and their continued support of Life Leisure.

“The last few months have been challenging, but I know that with Life Leisure’s great people and positive attitude, the organisation will continue to thrive and deliver a great result for the communities we serve. I wish Life Leisure all success going forward.” 

Malcolm will be succeeded by current Operations Director Michaela Pennington, who has worked at Life Leisure for 13 years and has 22 years experience in the industry.   

She said: “I have had the privilege of working with Malcolm for the past 20 years and I am grateful for his knowledge, experience and generous support over this long period. With this new change, I am extremely proud and excited to take the baton from him.”

Life Leisure, which was forced to close its doors for five months as result of the pandemic, has now begun phased re-openings of its centres with new safety measures.

Michaela added: “This is the start of our new journey. A journey that begins in the middle of a global pandemic, which has posed significant challenges to the leisure sector and society as a whole, but one we’ll overcome with our usual grit, determination and innovation.

“I am so grateful to all of our staff for their professionalism and support during this period. By working together, we have successfully and safely re-opened most of our sites and our members have returned. I have an unquestionable belief that Life Leisure will come out of this stronger.”

She added: “We provide vital services for the health and wellbeing of the community and we continue to work closely with our customers to maintain high quality leisure services in Stockport and Barrow.”

For more information about Life Leisure, centres and opening times, go to

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