The Fortunato file Featured

7:00pm EDT January 26, 2009

Before becoming CEO, Fortunato served as senior executive vice president and chief operating officer from mid-2005 until November 2005. From November 2001 until June 2005, Fortunato served as executive vice president and COO of General Nutrition Companies Inc. From October 2000 until November 2001, he served as its executive vice president of retail operations and store development. Fortunato began his employment with General Nutrition Companies Inc. in October 1990 and has held various positions, including senior vice president of financial operations from 1997 to 1998 and director of financial operations from 1990 to 1997.

What was your first job?

When I was 11 or 12 years old, I was a paperboy.

What has been most difficult business challenge?

It’s still the times when the business is not performing up to expectations and you’ve got to provide the leadership to the business and hold the work force together and keep a united front.

What has been your greatest business lesson?

That you really do have to, when things are difficult, take a step back, keep a level head and take a real view of the company — re-evaluate its assets, re-evaluate the core components that will be valuable to layering upon as the business moves forward and what makes the business successful. To me, that is one of the greatest lessons I’ve had in this company.