Oprah Winfrey to step down from Weight Watchers board

Oprah Winfrey will leave the board of Weight Watchers, in another blow to a company struggling to compete with the popularity of weight loss drugs.

Oprah Winfrey PHOTO: Archive

The American star, who has been on the company's board since 2015, has said he will not run for re-election at the next shareholder meeting in May.

Oprah recently revealed that she used weight loss drugs as “maintenance tool”, write bbc.com.

Shares of Weight Watchers International fell 27 percent in extended trading in New York.

Winfrey said in a statement that she would continue to work with Weight Watchers “to elevate the conversation around recognizing obesity as a chronic condition.”

The influential talk show host and businesswoman also said she will donate all of her shares in the company to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Orah is one of Weight Watchers' largest shareholders, with a stake of around 10%.

When Oprah Winfrey started working with the company nearly a decade ago, she joined the Weight Watchers program and shared her experiences with other members. She had previously spoken publicly about her struggles with weight.

Her decision to leave the board comes as the company faces a sea change in the weight loss industry following the launch of obesity drugs such as Wegovy and Saxenda.

Also on Tuesday, Weight Watchers published its latest financial figures, which showed a net loss of $88.1m (£69.6m) for the final three months of 2023, more than twice as much as in the same period of the previous year.

In March 2023, the company announced that it would buy digital health company Sequence “as a natural step“, given “advances in chronic weight management drugs.”

Sequence describes itself as a weight loss program that offers a suite of services to its subscribers. In addition to advice from fitness trainers and dietitians, he is able to prescribe drugs such as Ozempic and Wegovy.

Weight Watchers CEO Sima Sistani said the $132 million deal will allow members to benefit from both its approach to “nutrition and behavior change”, as well as prescribed medications.