Oprah Winfrey leaving WeightWatchers board after weight loss drug admission

Oprah Winfrey has parted ways with WeightWatchers after nearly 10 years on the company’s board of directors, two months after her admission in December that she used a prescription medication to help her lose weight.

According to the company, “Winfrey will still continue to work as a public advocate on behalf of weight health and obesity issues,” and she will donate her stock holdings in the company — at one point estimated to be worth $18 million — to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The donation will “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,” according to a company statement.

In a statement, Oprah said, “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.”

She added, “Weight Health is a critically important topic and one that needs to be addressed at a broader scale. I plan to participate in a number of public forums and events where I will be a vocal advocate in advancing this conversation.”

Thilo Semmelbauer, chairman of the company’s board, called Winfrey “an inspiring presence and passionate advocate for our members, providing critical insights and counsel that has helped shape WeightWatchers over these last 8 years.”

He also thanked her for “her energy, dedication, and for continuing to play a role as collaborator and thought partner going forward.”

 

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