Feb 29 (Reuters) - Shares of WW International, also known as WeightWatchers, took a pounding after the company disclosed that media icon Oprah Winfrey will exit its board later this year.

The shares fell 23.5% to $2.92 in premarket hours on Thursday and have more than halved in value so far this year. Short interest for the stock stood at 17.5% of the outstanding shares. as of Feb. 28.

Late on Wednesday, WW International said the talk show host, who has been a board member since 2015, will not be standing for re-election at the 2024 annual shareholder meeting.

Winfrey has been in the spotlight in recent months, following her public announcement about using prescription medication to manage her weight.

Currently, there are two approved treatments in the United States for chronic weight management - Novo Nordisk's Wegovy and Eli Lilly's Zepbound.

Winfrey will donate the shares of the company owned by her to the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), WeightWatchers said, adding the decision would "eliminate any perceived conflict of interest around her taking weight loss medications."

She owned 1.13 million shares worth $6.34 million as of Jan. 1, LSEG data showed.

Winfrey also intends to donate any future proceeds from her WW stock options to NMAAHC.

WW International has a lower forward price-to-earnings multiple - a common benchmark to value stocks - of 13.55 compared to 17.21 for its peer USANA Health Services. (Reporting by Bhanvi Satija and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)