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WWE CEO Vince McMahon Retires Amid ‘Misconduct’ Allegations

Sports

CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), Vince McMahon | Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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Longtime chairman and CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), Vince McMahon, announced Friday he would retire.

“As I approach 77 years old, I feel it’s time for me to retire as chairman and CEO of WWE,” McMahon said in a statement.

“Throughout the years, it’s been a privilege to help WWE bring you joy, inspire you, thrill you, surprise you and always entertain you. I would like to thank my family for mightily contributing to our success, and I would also like to thank all of our past and present superstars and employees for their dedication and passion for our brand.

“Most importantly, I would like to thank our fans for allowing us into your homes every week and being your choice of entertainment,” said McMahon.

McMahon had already “voluntarily stepped back” from his corporate role in June amid an internal investigation by the WWE board of directors into alleged misconduct.

Earlier this month, a Wall Street Journal report purportedly revealed that McMahon allegedly paid over $12 million in the past 16 years to “suppress allegations of sexual misconduct and infidelity,” far more than initially reported.

Four women, all formerly affiliated with WWE, signed agreements with McMahon that barred them from discussing their relationships with him, according to the July report, citing people familiar with the deals and documents it reviewed.

A June report from the WSJ initially unveiled the WWE board was investigating a secret $3 million settlement the longtime CEO agreed to pay to a departing employee with whom he allegedly had an affair.

McMahon has said he is cooperating with the company’s investigation.

On Monday, the WWE announced it uncovered $14.6 million in “unrecorded expenses” paid out by McMahon. The company said it will restate its financial statements for 2019, 2020, 2021, and the first quarter of 2022, to reflect the “unrecorded expenses.”

The WWE said internal controls over its financial reporting were “not effective” due to one or more material weaknesses.

“The company has also received, and may receive in the future, regulatory, investigative and enforcement inquiries, subpoenas or demands arising from, related to, or in connection with these matters,” the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie, and WWE president Nick Khan will take over as co-CEOs for the wrestling company.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to lead WWE together with our unmatched management team,” McMahon and Khan said in a joint statement. “We recognize this is a tremendous opportunity and responsibility, and we look forward to serving the WWE Universe.”

Stephanie was already serving as interim CEO amid the investigation. Stephanie’s husband, Paul Levesque, better known by his ring name Triple H, will “assume all responsibilities related to WWE’s creative, in addition to his regular duties,” the company said.

McMahon bought the company from his father in 1982. Under his leadership, WWE evolved into a billion-dollar industry, with massive events like WrestleMania and superstars like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and John Cena.

Vince McMahon will remain the majority shareholder in WWE and said he “will continue to support WWE in any way [he] can.”    

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