June 23, 2024

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Oprah will leave the Weight Watchers board and donate the proceeds from her stake in the company ‘to eliminate any perceived conflict of interest around her taking weight loss medications’

2 min read

Oprah Winfrey is standing down from the board of WW International, also known as WeightWatchers, and the reason why has to do with her use of weight loss medication—probably. Winfrey joined the company in 2015 after buying a $43 million stake in the weight loss and fitness company, joining the board, and agreeing to a collaboration in which she let WW use her name and image in its marketing and advertising.

According to WeightWatchers, Winfrey won’t stand for reelection at the May 2024 shareholder meeting and she will donate all her WeightWatchers stock to the National Museum of African American History and Culture during the company’s open trading window next month. Furthermore, Winfrey will also donate the proceeds from any future exercise of her WW stock options, the company said. Winfrey is donating her stake to support the museum’s goals and to “eliminate any perceived conflict of interest around her taking weight loss medications,” said the company in a press release.

Without commenting specifically on any medication she’s using, Winfrey said in December 2023: “I now use it… as I feel I need it, as a tool to manage not yo-yoing.”  

“The fact that there’s a medically approved prescription for managing weight and staying healthier, in my lifetime, feels like relief, like redemption, like a gift, and not something to hide behind and once again be ridiculed for. I’m absolutely done with the shaming from other people and particularly myself.”

Her public comments might not have gone over well at WWInternational. 

WW stock year-to-date is down 56%, and after the announcement about Winfrey today, share prices dropped 27% in after-hours trading, which would take roughly $80 million off the market capitalization. The company has attempted to get in on the weight loss prescription trend, purchasing telehealth platform Sequence last year for $132 million.

Winfrey, who has dealt with dieting and weight struggles publicly…

Amanda Gerut

2024-02-28 22:05:31

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