Oprah's Shocking Departure From WeightWatchers Sends Stock Plummeting, What Happened?

By Alan Hume | Saturday, 02 March 2024 08:30 PM
Views 3.5K

In a surprising turn of events, television producer and former talk show host Oprah Winfrey has stepped down from the board of the weight-loss company, WeightWatchers.

This decision follows her admission of using pharmaceutical drugs as a part of her weight maintenance plan.

Last year, Winfrey confessed to CNBC that she had started using medication, in addition to dieting programs, to maintain her weight loss and prevent fluctuations. Initially, she felt "shame about it," but she has since accepted and openly admitted to this practice.

"I now use it as I feel I need it, as a tool to manage not yo-yoing," she revealed to People magazine. She further expressed her relief at the availability of a medically approved prescription for weight management, describing it as "redemption" and a "gift."

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Earlier this month, Winfrey announced her decision not to seek re-election to the WeightWatchers board and her impending departure from the company. However, it remains unclear whether her admission of pharmaceutical drug use for weight maintenance influenced this decision.

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Winfrey, who became a board member in 2015, has been a significant stakeholder in WeightWatchers since she started using the company's weight loss program. She has actively promoted the company, appearing in numerous commercials and print advertisements.

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However, she has now decided to leave the board and donate her substantial shares to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. As ABC News reported, Winfrey owns approximately 10% of the company's stock, making her the single largest shareholder.

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News of Winfrey's departure led to a sharp decline in WeightWatchers' shares, which fell by as much as 25% in trading.

In her announcement, Winfrey stated, "I look forward to continuing 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."

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She further emphasized her commitment to addressing weight health on a broader scale and her plans to participate in public forums and events to advance this conversation.

Moreover, she announced her decision to donate her interest in WeightWatchers to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, an organization she has long supported.

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In response to Winfrey's decision, WeightWatchers expressed its support and clarified that her donation aims to promote the contributions of African Americans and eliminate any perceived conflict of interest regarding her use of weight-loss medications. The company also revealed that Winfrey intends to donate the proceeds from any future exercises of her WeightWatchers stock options to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

However, WeightWatchers has been experiencing a downward trend over the past few years. The company's fourth-quarter report from 2023 revealed a loss of $88.1 million, more than double the loss during the same period in 2022.

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