Business

Bodybuilding.com founder DeLuca steps down

Ryan DeLuca, who founded Bodybuilding.com, announced that Monday was his last day.

DeLuca, who started the company in 1999, announced the move in a six-paragraph post Monday on his personal Facebook page. He said stepping down would be his “first real vacation since starting the company.” He said he will remain with the company as an advisor.

“It’s time to give somebody else a chance to run the most-visited fitness site and biggest online sports nutrition company in the world,” DeLuca wrote.

DeLuca will be replaced on an interim basis by Chris Shean, CFO of Bodyuilding.com’s parent company, Liberty Interactive.

DeLuca built Bodybuilding.com into one of Boise’s most successful startups. The company sells about 15,000 nutrition and weightlifting supplements online.

He sold a controlling interest to Liberty Media, the Colorado-based owner of the QVC home-cable network, for more than $100 million in 2008. DeLuca kept a minority stake and stayed on as CEO. Liberty Interactive is a Liberty Media subsidiary.

Bodybuilding.com has about 800 employees, including 600 in Boise. The company said in September that it was on pace to surpass $500 million in sales this year.

“He’s not only had a monumental impact on the city of Boise and the state of Idaho, but he has managed to literally transform the entire international fitness industry,” said Matt Rissell, CEO and co-founder of Eagle time sheet software company TSheets.

DeLuca started the company by paying $20,000 for the Bodybuilding.com domain name. In the Facebook post, he said he devoted his life to the company.

“I didn’t party during the college years,” the post said. “I didn’t really do anything for fun. I worked ... and I loved (nearly) every single minute of it.”

The success was marred by scandal in 2012, when Bodybuilding.com, DeLuca and his brother, former company President Jeremy DeLuca, were ordered by a federal judge to pay $8.1 million as part of a plea deal for misdemeanor charges of selling misbranded products. Prosecutors said they sold products labeled as dietary supplements that contained synthetic anabolic steroids or clones of synthetic steroids.

Bodybuilding.com agreed to pay a $7 million fine, Ryan DeLuca agreed to pay $500,000 and Jeremy DeLuca $600,000.

Rissell said he’s curious to see what DeLuca does next. “I can’t wait to see the next chapter of his career,” Rissell said. “That being said, I can still bench press more than he can.”

DeLuca did not respond to calls seeking comment. A message left with Liberty Media after hours Monday was not immediately returned.

In 2013, Bodybuilding.com moved into an $18 million, 100,000-square-foot headquarters on Meeker Avenue south of Chinden Boulevard in northwest Boise.

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