Oprah Winfrey Leaves WeightWatchers Because of Drug Use

Oprah Winfrey will leave the board of WeightWatchers after almost 10 years, following the entertainment mogul’s revelation that she is using a weight-loss drug.

Winfrey informed the company this week that she decided to not stand for reelection at the annual meeting of shareholders to be held in May 2024. She has served on the company’s board since 2015 when she acquired a 10% stake in WeightWatchers.

“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,” Winfrey said in a statement.

In December 2023, Winfrey told People she had decided to start taking a weight-loss medication (which she did not identify) after coming to the realization that weight management does not hinge solely on a person’s self-control. “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,” she told People.

Winfrey’s agreement with WeightWatchers specifies that she “will not engage in any other weight loss or weight management business, program, products or services” during the term of her relationship with the company and for one year afterward, according to the company’s filings with the SEC.

After the disclosure that Winfrey will leave WeightWatchers’ board, shares of WW International fell more than 20% Friday. With her departure, the company’s board will be reduced from 10 members to nine.

On Feb. 26, Winfrey notified Weight Watchers that she would not be standing for re-election as a member of the board at the company’s 2024 annual meeting of shareholders, per an SEC filing Thursday. According to the company, “Her decision was not the result of any disagreement with the company on any matter relating to the company’s operations, policies or practices.”

Winfrey said she will donate her interest in WeightWatchers to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. “I have been a long-time supporter of this worthy organization, and I am proud to continue my support,” she said.

In a statement, the board of directors of WeightWatchers said it is “supportive of Ms. Winfrey’s proposal to donate all of her WW stock to the NMAAHC during the company’s upcoming trading window in March 2024. Ms. Winfrey is making the donation to support the NMAAHC’s goal to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans and to eliminate any perceived conflict of interest around her taking weight-loss medications. In addition, Ms. Winfrey intends to donate the proceeds from any future exercises of her WW stock options to NMAAHC.”

In May 2024, Winfrey and WeightWatchers will host an event on weight health featuring “industry experts coming together to un-shame our relationship with weight,” according to the company. “Weight health is a critically important topic and one that needs to be addressed at a broader scale,” Winfrey said in the statement. “I plan to participate in a number of public forums and events where I will be a vocal advocate in advancing this conversation.”

WW International chairman Thilo Semmelbauer said in a statement, “Oprah has been an inspiring presence and passionate advocate for our members, providing critical insights and counsel that has helped shape WeightWatchers over these last 8 years. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank her for her energy and dedication and for continuing to play a role as collaborator and thought partner going forward. What I know for sure, we will dearly miss her presence on the board.”

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One thought on “Oprah Winfrey Leaves WeightWatchers Because of Drug Use”
  1. I seriously don’t like Oprah used to but she so phony. I would think her leaving WW would send their stock skyrocketing.

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