One of Herbalife Ltd.'s largest independent distributors, Anthony Powell, has left the company and is urging his 16,000 distributors to go with him.
Bloomberg News reported Powell will now be distributing Verve energy-drink products for Vemma Nutrition Co., which is based in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Powell, who could not be reached for comment, has been on Herbalife's President's Team, one of the highest levels for a distributor, according to the Bloomberg report.
Herbalife said last week that it completed the $22.2 million purchase of the former Dell Inc. plant in Winston-Salem. The company has said it plans to create 493 jobs in three years.
The loss of Powell comes amid accusations from Bill Ackman, an activist hedge-fund manager, that Herbalife is a pyramid scheme. The company has said it will hold an analyst presentation today to refute Ackman's claims.
Herbalife's share price rose 4.17 percent Wednesday, or by $1.60, to close at $39.95.
Julian Cacchioli, a spokesman for Herbalife, confirmed Powell's departure in an email Wednesday.
"The changes we've made to rules restricting lead sales and other practices in the type of internet-based business operated by Anthony and his group did not suit his business method," Cacchioli said. "We are focused on creating long-term, stable growth based on daily consumption of our Herbalife products. Anthony has a different philosophy and wishes to have explosive growth for him and his team."
Cacchioli said that Powell's leaving the company "will not have a material impact on Herbalife's business."
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