Feb 29, 2024 - Business

WeightWatchers stock plunges as Oprah Winfrey leaves board, donates shares

Illustration of a bathroom scale with a dollar sign formed by the indicator in the weight scale window.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

WeightWatchers' stock plunged Thursday after longtime celebrity booster Oprah Winfrey announced she's leaving the board and giving away her stock in the company.

Why it matters: Winfrey's decision to join WeightWatchers and the company's board in 2015 improved investor confidence in its fortunes for a time.

Driving the news: WW said Thursday that Winfrey would not stand for reelection to its board in May.

  • She's giving away the rest of her shares in the company to the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.
  • "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.

The intrigue: WW said Winfrey's decision is meant partly "to eliminate any perceived conflict of interest around her taking weight loss medications."

  • WW, which has been grappling with a decline in membership during the pandemic, is now marketing weight-loss drugs following its acquisition last year of telehealth platform Sequence.

The impact: The stock was down 20% to $3.03 in early-afternoon trading.

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