As Oprah Exits, WeightWatchers Stock Tanks

Shares fell 27% following Winfrey's announcement
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 29, 2024 10:15 AM CST
As Oprah Exits, WeightWatchers Stock Tanks
Oprah Winfrey introduces a performance by Fantasia Barrino during the 66th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Oprah Winfrey is leaving WeightWatchers. The TV personality and podcast host who's served on the company's board of directors since 2015 announced late Wednesday that she won't stand for reelection at the annual shareholders meeting in May. One of the company's biggest shareholders, Winfrey also said she would donate the proceeds of her 10% stake in the company to the National Museum of African American History and Culture—a move the board said was intended "to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans and to eliminate any perceived conflict of interest around her taking weight loss medications." In December, Winfrey revealed she relies on weight-loss drugs to maintain her weight. "The fact that there's a medically approved prescription for managing weight and staying healthier, in my lifetime, feels ... like a gift," she told People.

Shares in WeightWatchers fell 27% after hours Wednesday, per MarketWatch, though Winfrey's announcement may have been only partially responsible. WeightWatchers had released 2023 and fourth-quarter earnings results Wednesday, showing a total loss of $88.1 million in Q4, more than double the $35.8 million lost in the same period in 2022, per ABC News. Winfrey, 70, didn't explain her decision but said she would continue "to advise and collaborate with WeightWatchers and CEO Sima Sistani in elevating the conversation around recognizing obesity as a chronic condition, working to reduce stigma, and advocating for health equity." "We will dearly miss her presence on the Board," Chairman Thilo Semmelbauer said, thanking Winfrey "for her energy, dedication, and for continuing to play a role as collaborator and thought partner going forward." (More Oprah Winfrey stories.)

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