WWE’s McMahon says he’s retiring amid misconduct investigation

Associated Press

World Wrestling Entertainment impresario Vince McMahon announced on Friday that he is retiring amid an investigation into allegations of misconduct involving the flamboyant showman who turned a small wrestling business into a global entertainment business .

In a brief statement released by WWE, McMahon said he was retiring as Chairman and CEO of the company. He specifies that he remains his majority shareholder.

McMahon temporarily stepped down as CEO and Chairman of WWE in mid-June amid an investigation into alleged misconduct. Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported that McMahon had agreed to pay more than $12 million over the past 16 years to suppress allegations of sexual misconduct and infidelity.

“At 77 it’s time for me to retire. Thank you, WWE Universe. So. Now. Always. Together. #WWE #thankful,” he wrote on Twitter.

There was no mention of the investigation in the statement from the Stamford, Connecticut-based company. McMahon said her daughter, Stephanie, who was named CEO and interim president last month, will take over as president and share CEO duties with Nick Khan, who joined the company in 2020.

“Our global audience can take comfort in knowing that WWE will continue to entertain you with the same fervor, dedication and passion,” he wrote in the statement, thanking generations of WWE fans around the world. whole world.

McMahon first stepped down from senior positions last month after the Journal reported at the time that he agreed to pay $3million to a former paralegal who said he sexually harassed her at work . He was supposed to continue overseeing creative content for WWE during the corporate investigation. But then the newspaper reported that McMahon had agreed to pay the significantly larger sum of $12 million.

Four women — all formerly affiliated with WWE — have signed agreements with McMahon that prevent them from discussing their relationships with him, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the agreements and the documents it reviewed. McMahon said he was cooperating with the company’s investigation.

McMahon has been the leader and most recognizable face of WWE for decades. When he purchased what was then the World Wrestling Federation from his father in 1982, wrestling matches were held in small venues and appeared on local cable channels.

The organization underwent a seismic transformation under McMahon with events like WrestleMania, a premium live production that draws millions of devout viewers.

Last year, revenues topped $1 billion for the first time, and the company landed television deals with Fox and NBCUniversal. Last month, it announced a multi-year expansion of its original programming partnership with A&E.

WWE stars have become crossover sensations including Hulk Hogan, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and John Cena.