Weight Watchers CEO touts diversity as key to success

Since Mindy Grossman became CEO of Weight Watchers in July, the stock has more than doubled -- a success that she attributes largely to her efforts to diversify the employees of the New York-based company.

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“I am so passionate about diversity as a whole certainly, and as a business imperative and a human imperative,” she told FOX Business’ Trish Regan during an interview on Wednesday. “Where it really began for me is when I joined NIke, and I was the most senior woman in the company. And I realized just how critical inclusion, respect, diversity were.”

Although Weight Watchers is beginning to shift from a system of weight loss to a focus on overall health and wellness -- the company just paired with California-based meal kit company FreshRealm to roll out quick-prep food as part of its new WW Health Kitchen initiative -- Grossman maintains that diverse personnel and a respectful environment are what’s boosting the company’s value.

“Today more than ever, especially young people, want a brand with purpose,” she said. “They want a brand that means something to them and respects them. And if you are not inclusive and you are not diverse, you are not going to attract the talent you need for the future.”

Seven out of 12 board members are women, she said, with some people who are from France, Ireland and the United Kingdom. That type of environment creates “productive discomfort,” she said. Weight Watchers also recently added DJ Khaled as an ambassador, alongside longtime spokeswoman Oprah.

“I’ve always felt that women supporting women, and even more importantly today, men supporting women, and giving a seat at the table and sharing experiences and values and support is just more important,” she said. “I‘ve made it part of my entire modus operandi for doing business.”

Weight Watchers is currently trading at $62.77 per share.