NEW YORK: Weight Watchers has upped Stacie Sherer to SVP of corporate comms, a newly created role.
Sherer was promoted in July and reports to the health and wellness company’s newly minted CEO, Mindy Grossman. After Grossman joined the company last month, she decided that comms needed to be part of the executive committee.
"[Grossman] recognized right away comms was a critical function missing from the executive committee, so she created the role," Sherer said.
In an internal memo, obtained by PRWeek, Grossman explained her reasoning for promoting Sherer.
"Communications helps to align the team around strategic objectives and strategies, helps to reinforce the brand and the culture, and it leads the way in how we talk about ourselves and our business externally to a broad and diverse range of stakeholders," she wrote.
Grossman added that having a global position leading comms and elevating comms into the executive committee at Weight Watchers were both priorities.
The company is also seeking a manager of external comms and manager of internal comms, both of whom will report to Sherer. Additionally, Jenny Zimmerman has been promoted to director of PR for the U.S and will report to Maurice Herrera, SVP of marketing, with a dotted line into Sherer, according to the memo.
"It’s a reflection of how important both internal and external comms will be for the organization going forward," Sherer said. "We made changes in the company over the last few years to stabilize the business. There will be further transformation requiring an alignment in comms internally as well as externally."
For years, Weight Watchers has faced stiff competition from more modern alternatives to weight-loss programs, such as step counters and free mobile apps.
In 2015, Oprah Winfrey goosed the company’s shares by buying a 10% equity stake and serving as a spokesperson. Despite those gains, the company had shed almost $1 billion in market valuation a year later.
That led to the resignation of CEO James Chambers, whom Grossman replaced. Grossman joined the company from HSN where she served as CEO, a post she held for more than 11 years, according to her LinkedIn. She also held senior roles at Nike and Ralph Lauren.
Weight Watchers posted impressive gains for its second quarter this year, recording earnings of $0.67 per share and revenue of $342 million that beat analyst predictions.
Sherer served as Weight Watchers’ VP of PR for North America since 2012, according to her LinkedIn profile.
In that role, she led the North America team, executing on consumer PR programming, and providing PR support for the company’s health solutions U.S. business, Grossman’s memo said. Sherer has also worked with the science team for strategy and communication on the company’s scientific publications, the finance team for financial comms, and the HR team for internal comms.
Prior to joining Weight Watchers, Sherer served two lengthy stints at Burson-Marsteller – she had a one-year tenure at Y&R Brands between those stints – and was most recently MD, consumer and brand marketing practice at the WPP firm.
Weight Watchers doesn’t have a PR AOR. M Booth handles consumer PR, while Ketchum handles comms around science and clinical research, Sherer said.