Oprah Winfrey to Leave Weight Watchers Board

Oprah Winfrey will be stepping down from the board of Weight Watchers, dealing a new setback to a company facing challenges in the weight-loss market.

The American celebrity, who has served on the company’s board since 2015, announced that she will not seek re-election at the upcoming shareholder meeting in May.

Ms. Winfrey recently shared that she relied on weight-loss drugs as a “maintenance tool.”

Weight Watchers International’s shares dropped by 27% in after-hours trading in New York.

In a statement, Ms Winfrey expressed her commitment to collaborating with Weight Watchers to raise awareness about obesity as a chronic condition.

The talk show host and businesswoman announced her decision to donate all her shares in the firm to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Ms Winfrey holds a significant stake in Weight Watchers, owning approximately 10% of the company.

When Ms Winfrey began collaborating with the company nearly ten years ago, she became a part of the Weight Watchers programme and discussed her journey with fellow participants. She had previously shared openly about her struggles with weight.

She has chosen to step down from the board as the company faces challenges due to changes in the weight-loss industry following the introduction of anti-obesity medications such as Wegovy and Ozempic.

On Tuesday, Weight Watchers released its most recent financial results, revealing a net loss of $88.1m (£69.6m) for the final three months of 2023, more than double the amount from the previous year.

March 2023 saw the company revealing its plans to acquire digital health company Sequence, citing the progress in chronic weight management medications as a key factor.

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Sequence presents itself as a weight loss programme that provides a range of services to its members. In addition to guidance from fitness coaches and dietitians, it can also provide prescriptions for medications like Ozempic and Wegovy.

Sima Sistani, the CEO of Weight Watchers, mentioned that the $132m agreement would enable members to take advantage of the company’s nutrition and behavior-change strategies along with prescription medications.

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