WWE Founder and Chairman of the Executive Board Vince McMahon He has “voluntarily retracted” his roles as CEO and chairman of the powerful sports-entertainment company amid an “investigation of alleged misconduct” by him and John Laurentis, the head of talent relations.
“McMahon will retain his role and responsibilities in relation to WWE’s creative content during this period and remain committed to cooperating with the ongoing review,” the company said. A special committee of the Board of Directors undertakes the investigation. WWE said on Friday it had appointed McMahon’s daughter Stephanie to serve as interim CEO and interim president.
The Wall Street Journal She reported millions of dollars in cash payments to women who allegedly had sexual relations with McMahon. The allegations were raised after the board of directors was contacted by someone who knew an employee who left the company earlier this year and received a $3 million payment. According to the report, she later revealed payments and other legal agreements with other women.
Laurinaitis previously wrestled under the stage name Johnny Ess. McMahon has also appeared for decades on WWE programming in his character.
I have pledged my full cooperation with the investigation of the Special Commission, and will do everything in my power to support the investigation. I also pledged to accept the findings and findings of the investigation, whatever they may be,” said Vince McMahon.
“WWE and its board of directors take all allegations of misconduct seriously,” the company said. “The independent directors have appointed independent legal counsel to assist them in an independent review. In addition, the Special Committee and WWE will work with an independent third party to conduct a comprehensive review of the Company’s compliance program, human resources function, and public culture.”
The company said that it and the board of directors “do not expect to receive further comments until the investigation is concluded.”
McMahon and his family effectively control WWE through their ownership of Class B shares, although the company is publicly traded. McMahon was married to Linda McMahon, the company’s former CEO and Small Business Administration official when President Trump was in office. His daughter Stephanie was, until recently, the company’s brand manager, with ex-wrestler husband Paul “HHH” Levesque also serving as the company’s CEO.
“I love this company and am committed to working with independent directors to advance our culture and company; it is very important to me that we have a safe and collaborative workplace,” said Stephanie McMahon. “I have committed to doing everything in my power to help the Special Committee complete its work, including: This mobilizes the entire company’s cooperation to help complete the investigation and implement its findings.”
WWE has TV deals with NBCUniversal (raw airs on USA Network, and Peacock reserves the right to featured events such as WrestleMania) and Fox Corp (which broadcasts Smackdown). It also expanded its programming to other outlets, with A&E ordering a slate of WWE-themed programming, and hiring Netflix to run a documentary series based on McMahon’s life.
Vince and Linda McMahon founded the company that became WWE in 1980 (McMahon’s father has been running promotions for wrestling since the 1950s), and has led it ever since.