Vince McMahon is stepping down from his role as CEO and chairman of World Wrestling Entertainment during an investigation into a report that he agreed to pay a former employee silence money over an alleged affair, the company said Friday.
A WWE press release states that “A Select Committee of the Board of Directors is investigating alleged misconduct by its Chairman and CEO Vincent McMahon and John Laurinaitis, Head of Talent Management, and that, with immediate effect, McMahon has voluntarily waived his responsibilities. as CEO and Chairman of the Board until the completion of the investigation.”
According to WWE, McMahon is cooperating with the investigation and will “retain his role and responsibilities related to WWE creative content during this period.”
“I have promised to cooperate fully with the investigation being conducted by the Special Committee and will do my best to support the investigation. I also promised to accept the findings and results of the investigation, whatever they may be,” McMahon said in a statement. .
McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie, will serve as acting CEO and chairman of WWE.
Friday move follows Wall Street Journal report On Wednesday, McMahon agreed to a $3 million secret settlement with a former employee who was hired as a paralegal in 2019. The divorce agreement, signed in January, is meant to keep the woman from discussing her relationship with McMahon or making disparaging comments. about him, according to the magazine. The report, citing documents and stories from people familiar with the investigation, said the investigation began in April and uncovered other non-disclosure agreements over the years related to misconduct claims by former employees against McMahon and Laurinaitis.
A WWE press release states that no further comment is expected until the investigation is completed. The company did not elaborate on the allegations against McMahon. WWE also stated that the company and its select committee will work with an independent third party to conduct a comprehensive review of its compliance program, HR function and overall culture.
McMahon bought the then World Wrestling Federation from his father, Vincent J. McMahon, in 1982 and built the company into a global wrestling powerhouse and media conglomerate that produced crossover stars such as Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin and John Sina.
WWE is a public company, but McMahon still owns a majority of the shareholders’ votes. The company’s shares fell 4% ahead of the opening of trading on Friday.
This report used information from Mark Raimondi of Sportzshala and the Associated Press.