Richard Segal, the former chief executive of the listed online gambling giant PartyGaming, is believed to have been appointed executive chairman of troubled fitness club chain Esporta.
Société Générale, Esporta's main creditor, has been looking to install a chairman to work beside the chief executive, Glenn Timms, and improve communication between the two parties.
Esporta's holding companies have been in administration since 2007, the year after SocGen loaned the billionaire Simon Halabi £330m to buy the chain.
Mr Segal left PartyGaming in 2006 after refusing to relocate to the company's base in Gibraltar. In March, Mr Segal left 3i, the listed private equity group at which he was a partner. A leisure industry source said: "Richard is young enough to want another executive job."
A formal announcement is expected in the next two weeks. SocGen declined to comment.