WWE’s Vince McMahon Steps Back From CEO, Chair Roles Amid Probe Into Alleged Misconduct, Daughter Stephanie Named Interim CEO
“Voluntarily,” Vince McMahon is stepping down as CEO and chairman of WWE while a “investigation into alleged wrongdoing” takes place between him and John Laurinaitis, the company’s head of talent relations.
It’s been stated that Vince McMahon “remains committed to collaborating with the review underway” despite his participation in WWE’s creative programming. The investigation is being conducted by a board special committee. WWE also announced on Friday that Stephanie McMahon has been named interim CEO and interim chairwoman.
According to the Wall Street Journal, McMahon’s alleged sex partners were paid millions of dollars in hush money to keep quiet. The board was tipped off to the claims by someone who knew of a departing employee who had received a $3 million payment shortly before he left the company earlier this year. According to the article, this led to the discovery of other payments and legal agreements with additional women.
Johnny Ace was the ring name of Laurinaitis when he was a professional wrestler. In character, McMahon has appeared on WWE programs for decades.
In order to support the inquiry by the special committee, I have committed my full cooperation. Regardless matter the outcome of the investigation, Vince McMahon has committed to accept the findings.
All complaints of wrongdoing are taken very seriously at WWE, according to the firm’s statement. Legal counsel was brought in by the board’s independent directors to conduct an independent review.” A third-party independent evaluation of the company’s compliance procedures, HR function, and overall culture will also be conducted by the special committee and WWE.
There will be no further comment from the company or the board until the investigation is complete, according to the statement.
Even though the WWE is publicly listed, the McMahon family is effectively in control through their holding of Class B shares. Former CEO Linda McMahon and SBA Administrator Linda McMahon are married to McMahon. Until recently, his daughter Stephanie served as the company’s chief brand officer alongside her husband, retired WWE wrestler Paul “HHH” Levesque.
This company is very important to me and I will work hard to ensure that we have a safe and constructive work environment with the independent directors, “Stephanie McMahon remarked. In order to help the special committee complete its job, I’ve pledged to do everything in my power, including enlisting the services of my whole organization to aid in the investigation’s conclusion and implementation of its conclusions.”
Both NBCUniversal (where Raw airs on USA Network) and Fox Corporation have TV deals with the WWE, which airs premium events like Wrestlemania on Peacock Network and USA Network, respectively (which airs Smackdown). A&E has ordered WWE-themed content, while Netflix has ordered a docuseries centered on Vince McMahon’s biography. The WWE has also expanded its programming to other venues.
WWE was formed in 1980 by Vince and Linda McMahon, whose father had been running wrestling enterprises since the 1950s.