Oprah, weight loss, Oprah, WeightWatchers

Oprah Cuts Ties With WeightWatchers, Donates Shares To NMAAHC

The media mogul plans to donate her shares, valued at around $4 million, to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Oprah Winfrey has decided not to seek re-election to the Board of Directors of WeightWatchers International. She has donated all her stock to the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC).

“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 Feb. 28 press release.

As a longtime supporter of NMAAHC’s mission, the media mogul “is proud to continue her support” and donate her shares to the museum, valued at around $4 million, according to CBS News. The donation comes as Winfrey looks “to eliminate any perceived conflict of interest around her taking weight loss medications.”

Winfrey has served on the WeightWatchers board since 2015. Her involvement initially doubled the company’s share price, but it has declined exponentially since. The company’s stock reflected a 17% plummet after early morning trading on Thursday. Rival weight loss drugs and shifting consumer preferences have disrupted diet companies like WeightWatchers. Established in 1960, the company has faced financial turmoil, with revenue dropping 15% to $889.6 million in 2023 while losses ballooned to $112 million.

Oprah’s stock ownership is now valued at just $4.1 million according to her 1.4% stake, compared to her initial $43.2 million investment for 6.4 million shares.

WeightWatchers Board Chairman Thilo Semmelbauer thanked Winfrey for “her energy, dedication, and for continuing to play a role as a collaborator and thought partner going forward” in Wednesday’s press statement. Semmelbauer noted The Color Purple actress’ inspiring presence, advocacy, and insight for members over the past eight years. “What I know for sure, we will dearly miss her presence on the Board.”

Winfrey plans to appear at several public speaking engagements on the pressing issue of weight health and wellness. “Weight Health is a critically important topic and one that needs to be addressed at a broader scale,” she said. In May 2024, the health and wellness advocate will co-host a WeightWatchers event confronting societal stigmas around obesity and promoting health equity.

RELATED CONTENT: Celebrating 7 Business Moves Oprah Winfrey Made In Her Career