Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Titans of Industry, Humbled at the Gym

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Titans of Industry, Humbled at the Gym

Article excerpt

The center -- whose members include people like Jack Welch and George Soros -- is the brainchild of John Sitaras, who along with measuring body fat and biceps has a way of sizing up egos, too.

There's a place on East 58th Street, in the New York borough of Manhattan, with no outdoor sign, where George Soros, David Geffen, Paul Volcker, Jules Kroll and other big names in the business and financial world are regulars.

And it is not some exclusive private dining room or mahogany- lined boardroom. It is Sitaras Fitness, which has quietly attracted the upper echelons of Wall Street as members, and in some cases as shareholders.

The center is the brainchild of a bodybuilder, John Sitaras, 39, who along with measuring body fat and biceps has a way of sizing up egos, too. Sometimes, he even juggles the schedules of his 140-plus members to ensure that people who do not get along in the corporate world are working out at different times.

"He's sort of a doctor of fitness," said Jack Welch, the corporate legend who headed General Electric from 1981 to 2001. When Mr. Welch suffered a staph infection in 2009, he was holed up in the hospital for more than three months and had difficulty walking when he returned home to recover. He turned to Mr. Sitaras to help him get back on his feet.

"A lot of my legs and arms had atrophied -- it was pretty ugly," Mr. Welch said. "John really brought me back." Today, Mr. Welch is back on the golf course and, at 76, makes fitness training part of his routine.

Mr. Soros, the billionaire investor and philanthropist, was never one to have time for -- or interest in -- gyms. But he was so impressed with the results that his son Alex, 26, got from Mr. Sitaras that he joined two years ago and now works out regularly. "My son benefited greatly -- he lost a lot of weight," Mr. Soros said.

The senior Mr. Soros, 81, goes to the gym twice a week. "It makes me feel better, more alert," he said. Mr. Soros, in turn, referred Mr. Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman, to the club. …

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