The Marque The Marque

Ben Francis MBE

Founder & CEO

Gymshark

Birmingham, UK


Ben Francis
Andy Florance
CoStar Group
Mark Freitas
Mark Edward Partners

Ben Francis’ Biography

Ben Francis MBE is the Chief Executive Officer and founder of leading fitness brand, Gymshark. In 2020 Gymshark secured a deal with General Atlantic that valued the company at over £1bn, making it one of the few British businesses to achieve 'unicorn' status since 2001.

Ben started Gymshark when he was just 19 years old, while he was still a student at Aston University. He famously juggled his studies with working as a pizza delivery boy in order to fund his Gymshark venture.

Since then, Gymshark has grown from a small operation in Ben’s garage to become one of the world's most recognised fitness brands. The company attributes its success to its strong online presence, continuous innovation, and commitment to producing high-quality performance wear.

Ben was CEO of Gymshark until 2015, utilising his expertise in business, social media marketing, sales, fashion, and market research. He also understood the value of collaborating with social media influencers in order to increase visibility. After stepping aside as CEO, he continued to use these skills in executive roles at Gymshark...
Ben Francis MBE is the Chief Executive Officer and founder of leading fitness brand, Gymshark. In 2020 Gymshark secured a deal with General Atlantic that valued the company at over £1bn, making it one of the few British businesses to achieve 'unicorn' status since 2001.

Ben started Gymshark when he was just 19 years old, while he was still a student at Aston University. He famously juggled his studies with working as a pizza delivery boy in order to fund his Gymshark venture.

Since then, Gymshark has grown from a small operation in Ben’s garage to become one of the world's most recognised fitness brands. The company attributes its success to its strong online presence, continuous innovation, and commitment to producing high-quality performance wear.

Ben was CEO of Gymshark until 2015, utilising his expertise in business, social media marketing, sales, fashion, and market research. He also understood the value of collaborating with social media influencers in order to increase visibility. After stepping aside as CEO, he continued to use these skills in executive roles at Gymshark until August 2021 when he once again took on the position of CEO.

He studied Business and Management at Aston University but decided to stall his studies in order to dedicate more time to Gymshark. Prior to founding Gymshark, Ben also developed iOS apps, two of which made it into Apple's fitness charts.

Ben’s achievements as a young entrepreneur have been widely recognised. In 2018 he was nominated as one of Forbes ‘30 under 30’ in Retail and E-commerce, the same year Gymshark’s revenue reached $120 million. In December 2020 Ben was named EY's UK Entrepreneur of the Year, and in 2022 he was awarded an honorary degree by Aston University in recognition of his achievements in business.

In January 2023 Ben Francis was appointed an MBE for services to commerce and the economy.
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Ben Francis’ Newsfeed

Fashion Network
Gymshark's second store opens in Westfield with international rollout coming, US key

According to Gymshark’s founder and chief executive Ben Francis, Gymshark’s move into the physical retail space has allowed it to combine in-store events with product presentation - a “remarkable” recipe for success.

Fashion Network
Gymshark's second store opens in Westfield with international rollout coming, US key

According to Gymshark’s founder and chief executive Ben Francis, Gymshark’s move into the physical retail space has allowed it to combine in-store events with product presentation - a “remarkable” recipe for success.

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Ben Francis’ Social Media

Ben Francis’ Background

Gymshark
Founder & CEO
Aug 2021 - Present
Birmingham, UK
Founded by Ben in 2012, Gymshark has grown into a leading sportswear brand and in 2020 acheived 'unicorn' status after being valued at over £1 billion. The business credits its success to a strong online presence, continuous innovation and high-quality performance wear.
 
Gymshark
Chief Product Officer
Jul 2020 - May 2021
Birmingham, UK
 
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Ben Francis’ Gallery

Media

The Diary of a CEO | Ben Francis
Video podcast
Dec 2021
Ben shares his wisdom with Steven Bartlett and talks about his journey from pizza delivery boy to CEO of one of the fastest growing and most exciting companies in the world.
 
Talks at GS
Video podcast
Oct 2021
London, UK
Ben Francis talks to Goldman Sachs about how he set up Gymshark at the age of 19, and his ambitions for the company.
 
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Interviews

Ben Francis charts Gymshark’s journey from bedroom business to billion pound valuation
Interviewee
Mar 2023
Ben Francis talks to the Gentleman's Journal about his ups and downs as founder and CEO of Gymshark.
 
The Interview: Gymshark founder Ben Francis on his ambitious vision for retail
Oct 2022
Ben Francis spoke to TheIndustry.fashion about what 19 year old Ben,who had just founded Gymshark, would say today.
 
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Features

GQ Heroes | Ben Francis interview
Nov 2021
In less than a decade, Ben Francis, the CEO of Gymshark, has gone from sewing T-shirts in his mother's garage to leading a highly successful e-commerce fitness fashion company.
 
Forbes Daily Cover Story | Ben Francis
Dec 2020
Ben Francis, a former pizza delivery boy, used TikTok and Instagram to build Gymshark into a billion dollar sportswear brand.
 

Publications

"Britain is an amazing place to start a business"
Author
Jun 2024
London, UK
Ben Francis wrote an Op-Ed piece for The Times in support of the UK as an amazing place to start a business.
 
Sunday Times 100 2023
Author
Jun 2023
Ben Francis, founder of Gymshark, offers his advice to Britain's 100 fastest growing private companies.
 

Awards & Recognition

Drapers Power 100 2023
Awardee
Dec 2023
Ben was recognised by Drapers as one of the 100 most important people in fashion retail.
 
Aston University
Honorary Degree Awardee
Apr 2022
Birmingham, UK
Ben Francis was awarded an honorary degree by Aston University in recognition of his entrepreneurship and outstanding business achievement.
 
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Charitable Interests

Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital Charity
Patron
Jun 2021 - Present
Birmingham, UK
In June 2021 Ben became Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital Charity’s first-ever Patron. Driven by his desire to give back to his community, Ben will help the charity improve the lives of women, babies, children and families, both in Birmingham and further afield.
 
Sweat for your NHS Campaign
In April 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Gymshark raised £180,000 for the Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital by encouraging people to ‘sweat for the NHS’. The company donated £5.00 for every 'sweaty selfie' posted to social media, enabling the hospital to buy vital medical equipment and continue their life-saving work.
 

Ben Francis’ Education

Aston University
Business and Management