Monday, November 17, 2014

Could New Medifast Hires Take Mom and Pop Company Into 21st Century?

Era of nepotism, alleged racism may be fading at Medifast HQ

Despite being a publicly traded company, Medifast (stock ticker: MED) seems to operate more like a mom and pop business in many ways. You need a family tree to trace top management.

So the hiring of not one but two outsiders -- from California no less -- could really shake things up at the diet company that got its start as a purveyor of protein shakes.

Within the past month, Medifast announced the appointments of Mona Ameli as President of Take Shape for Life and Kenneth Kopp as Vice President of Medifast Direct. And, as far as we know, neither one will be spending Thanksgiving dinner around the MacDonald family dining room table.

Compare man in far left wearing shower cap
to the husband of Meg Sheetz in this You Tube video.
Ameli and Kopp will be heading into a culture where who you're related to is more important than what you have accomplished.

Current CEO Michael McDonald is the brother of former CEO Bradley McDonald, whose daughter Margaret "Meg" MacDonald-Sheetz is the company's President and COO and other daughter Kellie Pizzico is Vice President of External Affairs.

And, though I couldn't get Google verification, Guy Sheetz, Vice President of Supply Chain, looks just like the husband of Meg Sheetz in this You Tube video. (A Medifast rep would not confirm or deny this relationship per the live chat below and getting connected by phone to anyone in the company beyond customer service proved difficult).
Live Chat

Hello, Nancy. My name is Theresa and I would be happy to assist you today.

Is Medifast president Meg Sheetz married to Guy Sheetz who also works for the company?

Unfortunately, we are unable to disclose any personal employee information. I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause.
Researching the company culture via the Glassdoor website, which publishes mostly anonymous feedback (i.e., take it with a grain of salt) from current and former employees, I found several disturbing comments related to nepotism:
"Management (executive level and above) is a mess and most people in those roles are not qualified to be in then. NEPOTISM! This company has a serious problem with hiring and promoting family members and people close to the family. Almost every person in an executive role is there because they are related to the family or know the CEO and most are completely unqualified for that role."
 "Very much still a company full of nepotism with senior managers who haven't a clue about the weight loss industry, nor how expensive the product is. Too many employee turn-overs. Deluded into thinking that the product can be sold worldwide, much less in second world countries to the south and countries with populations smaller than California to the north."
"Family members with little professional experience outside of the company running the business. No loyalty to employees. Hire an experienced woman to run the company. Not a family member, or if you want to continue with family, get out of the stock exchange and go back to private."
And this disturbing allegation from a former copy editor in Medifast HQ who worked for the company less than a year:
"Some VP's treated African Americans like lower employees or like they weren't as capable to do the work. When I worked there, a woman had great education in law and a particular VP treated her so condescending.... If you're black OR don't have a certain appeal about you they will ASSUME you work in the Call Center or that you should work the front desk. Both are viewed as 'low' in the hierarchy or as company ants. Now if you are in those positions as a minority or are another race and not the corporate ideal blonde, then they will be nice to you because they feel that's where you belong."
Mona Ameli
To be fair, there were some positive comments about working for the company, too, including access to a free gym, free Medifast products and a short commute if you live in the Baltimore area.

Overall, however, I gleaned a picture of a company in which being related to or friends with the company's now deceased re-founder Bradley MacDonald has historically been more important than having a relevant graduate degree or impressive resume. And if you've ever worked for a family business -- and weren't part of the family -- you know what that feels like.

So I am cautiously optimistic that Medifast's fortunes can be turned around by these latest hires. Californians, by nature, are non-traditional and multi-cultutal (Ameli is an Iranian born, Paris educated woman and recognized star in direct selling circles) and may be just the medicine Medifast needs to move beyond its small town culture and become a more merit based, global community.

You can purchase Medifast replacement meals directly from Medifast Centers, the Medifast website or -- for soon to be lower cost -- through the co-branded website of a Medifast TSFL health coach. Medifast does not recommend purchasing its products from third party vendors, but if you choose to do so, you can find them on both Amazon and eBay.

Medifast Custom Order - You Choose ANY 10 Boxes

More from Diet Skeptic:

Fruck You! Fructose

Can You Drink Alcohol on Medifast

Medifast Centers Vs. Take Shape for Life

Planned Exceptions: What Is Your Pie Policy?

Wabi Sabi Dieting & Renee Zelwegger's New Face
Follow Nancy's board Low Carb Recipes on Pinterest.

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