Lawrence Appell

Lawrence Appell


Results-oriented, customer-focused senior operations and general management executive to domestic and international multi-unit, direct-to-consumer service businesses. Market driven strategic and field leadership based on teambuilding principles to develop high-performance teams that transform business units into market-leaders. Demonstrated experience for company-owned and franchisedturnarounds, growth businesses and start‑ups in the for-profit education/training and the health, well-being and fitness industries. Proven track record, in entrepreneurial, private equity and Fortune 100 business environments, of leveraging consumer-driven insights to innovate new products and services that result in increased revenue, profit and customer satisfaction. Previous career experience as an organization/management development consultant leading organization-wide change programs.


To secure a senior operations or executive management position, in the United States or abroad, in a multi-unit, labor-intensive service business where I can join a dynamic team to grow revenue and profits.

Work History

Work History
2007 - 2008


Ivy West (Subsidiary of Educate, Inc.)

Wholly owned subsidiary of Educate, Inc. (e.g. Sylvan Learning Centers) providing 1:1, in-home, premium priced college admissions test preparation to 170,000 up-market California high school juniors.

Recruited to address operational, market and financial issues responsible for a five year decline in revenue and profit. Designed and implemented a comprehensive change initiative to rebuild the product line, upgrade management and improve financial performance in preparation for national expansion. Full P&L oversight for $5.0MM in revenue, a seven member senior leadership team, locations in Northern and Southern California and 350 employees. Reported to President & CEO of Sylvan Learning Centers.

  • Built a customer segmentation model to drive product development and marketing efforts; developed and implemented a suite of new programs including the Ivy West On-Line platform and program; developed new ACT curriculum. 18% Y-O-Y improvement in revenue backlog in winter 2008.
  • Revised the company website for search engine optimization; added an e-commerce on-line enrollment process and initiated an internet marketing campaign resulting in a new revenue stream of +$1MM. 
  • Recruited and hired a new Director level management team, created new business processes, published performance metrics and standards; provided direction to new finance, IT, marketing and operations functions. Developed variable compensation incentive programs. Zero voluntary Director turnover in 18 months.
  • Prepared the California operations to be closed and consolidate functions back to Sylvan as a result of the 2008 debt crisis. Reduced support service delivery costs by 70% through job re-engineering and process re-design. Negotiated a buy-out of the Northern California office lease saving $150k per annum.
Feb 2003 - Feb 2007

Division Vice President

2nd largest for-profit operator of preschool educational centers with 650+ locations; a privately held portfolio investment of JP Morgan Partners (now CCMP Advisors) sold to ABC Learning Centers 2007

Profit and loss accountability for 164 schools in twelve states, 16 District Managers, five division staff Directors, managing 3,500 staff serving 18,000 students per week generating $125MM in annual sales. Reported to President & CEO.

·Developed and implemented a strategic plan to reverse a three year decline. Reduced the number of declining properties from 65% of portfolio to 40% in first nine months. Increased sales conversion rates from prospects to tours to 41% from 35% in two years. Increased EBITDA by 65% over 3 fiscal years ($5MM incremental).

·Developed management reports and processes to optimize capacity utilization and labor control in 1,000+ classrooms. Reduced staff labor hours per customer without negatively impacting customer satisfaction. Reduced variable costs per customer and fixed costs as a % revenue. Increased facility utilization rates by 15%.

·Re-organized the management organization and reduced operating span from 15 units per District Manager to 12. Zero voluntary turnover by District Managers in four years.

·Initiated and completed a customer segmentation analysis leading to new program, promotional and pricing plans. Increased revenue per customer by 3-4% per year. Increased variable profit per classroom by 15% over two years.

2000 - 2003

President, International Division


The leading provider of technology education products and services to a global market of 500,000 private schoolsdistributed by master franchise partners in 124 countries.

Profit and loss accountability for the international division. Responsible for company-owned business in Europe and Latin America and franchised outlets in six continents generating $20 million in 60 countries, serving 2,000 schools touching 500,000 school age children a year. Reported to CEO.

·Developed and implemented a strategic plan to improve franchise performance by transitioning from a primarily retail business (business-to-consumer) to a school consulting business (business-to-business). Reversed and stabilized four year revenue decline while continuously maintaining division profitability. Increased private school clients in the system by 25% and increased license partner revenue by 65%.

·Developed and implemented a strategic plan to initiate company-owned operations in Europe and Latin America. Generated $1MM in private schools contracts in the first year.

·Developed and launched new products. Joint Cambridge University/Futurekids certificate program generated $100,000 in revenues in year one.

·Managed contract negotiations for master franchise sales, re-sales and renewals on all continents. Increased royalty reporting compliance from 50% to 90% in eight months.

1994 - 2000

President & CEO

Westlake Management Company, LLC

Founder of boutique venture capital and consulting firm that invested in and/or provided management services to labor-intensive, geographically disbursed service companies.

·Negotiated for and acquired franchise rights in Los Angeles for Jamba Juice; built, operated and divested the business after achieving revenue and profit metrics in the 95th percentile of all restaurants.

·Created service concepts and built two fast-casual restaurant chains from market analysis to operation to divestment

1992 - 1994

Vice President, Operations

Pritikin Systems (Div of The Quaker Oats Company)

Intrapreneurial start-up by Fortune 50 conglomerate of heart-healthy health clubs/weight loss centers for adults seeking to prevent heart disease

·Negotiated leases at below market rates for 12,000 square foot facilities, designed space plans, managed construction and purchased equipment while maintaining the business plan budget and timetable. Designed work processes, recruited and trained professional and administrative staff.

·Grew the membership in two locations to 1,000 active participants, developed service improvement and retention programs that resulted in a customer turnover rate of only 3% per month, well below industry standards.

1986 - 1992

Vice President, North American Company Operations

Weight Watchers International, Inc. (Div of The H.J. Heinz Company)

Key contributor in the 1980's turn‑around of Weight Watchers; the world's largest weight control organization. Revenues increased from $71 million in 1983 to $270 million in 1991. Nine years of continuous increases in job responsibilities.

Profit and loss accountability for the largest profit center in the company; strategic and tactical responsibility for 1,400 retail locations generating >3000 classes per week and over 5,000 employees in 72 North American markets.

·Developed and implemented a long‑range strategic plan to improve company operations. Revenue increased from $55 to $100 million; Operating Income increased from $16 to $23 million.

·Developed and implemented annual and seasonal advertising, promotional and pricing plans utilizing TV, direct mail, radio and print for 72 local marketing areas across North America; budget of $10 million. Increased enrollments by 52% while holding increases in advertising cost per enrollment to only 9%. Increased penetration from 6% to +7% reflecting incremental growth of 400,000 members in four years. Opportunistically raised prices; average revenue per member increased 23% over four years.

·Established and implemented a strategy to manage growth via leased and sub‑leased locations. Total number of locations grew by 350 in four years from 1,100 to 1,400 (450,000 square feet leased). Increased average revenue per location by 62%.

·Hired, trained, and managed 70 salespeople to promote “Weight Watchers At Work”, a new business-to-business service that generated incremental revenues of $25 million.

1985 - 1986

Vice President, Service & Program Development

Weight Watchers International, Inc. (Div of The H.J. Heinz Company)

·Researched consumer needs and then managed an annual innovation process that developed a new Weight Watchers Program for use around the world. Enrollments increased 25%, revenues 22% and Weight Watchers food sales increased by $200 million.

·Developed and tested a new small group service and developed, tested and rolled‑out the At Work Program. At Work Program sales reached $32 million and became the largest wellness program in North America.

1983 - 1985

General Manager, National Training and Meeting Development

Weight Watchers International, Inc. (Div of The H.J. Heinz Company)

Responsible to ensure that worldwide service providers (+/- 50,000) had the necessary skills and knowledge to deliver the Weight Watchers program and to utilize service blueprinting and process analysis to improve customer satisfaction.

·Managed a task force over four months to develop materials and training systems to deliver a new service; trained 35,000 service providers in North America on time and within budget.

·Increased customer satisfaction by 17 points (61% to 78%) in two years.

·Consulted to European and Australian operations in the implementation of new programs.

1974 - 1983

Senior Organization Development Consultant;

Early Career


Gained business experience as an entrepreneur and developed management and consulting skills utilizing the principles of organization development to form a foundation for all subsequent hands-on management and leadership roles

·Directed operational improvement consulting projects in the United States, Mexico and Canada

·Developed management and project teams.

·Increased annual revenues to $750K; managed two staff consultants while building clients in over 100 service companies,




Lehman College (City University of NY)

M.S. Counselor Education

St. John's University




Business planning, market and competitive analysis, team leadership, performance management, service and product development, process and productivity improvement, dashboard and measurement systems, business analysis, budgeting and forecasting and franchise management.