The company announced Friday that Vince McMahon is stepping down as CEO and Chairman of World Wrestling Entertainment during an investigation into a report that he agreed to pay silent cash to a former employee over an alleged affair.
WWE said in a statement that a “special committee of the Board of Directors is conducting an investigation into alleged misconduct by its Chairman and CEO Vincent McMahon and John Laurentis, Head of Talent Relationships, and that McMahon has voluntarily abdicated his responsibilities, effective immediately. As CEO and Chairman of the Board until the investigation is over.
WWE said that McMahon is cooperating with the investigation, and will “retain his role and responsibilities in relation to WWE’s creative content during this period.”
“I have pledged my full cooperation with the investigation being conducted by the Special Committee, and will do everything in my power to support the investigation. I have also pledged to accept the findings and findings of the investigation, whatever they may be,” McMahon said in a statement. .
WWE has said that McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie, will serve as interim CEO and president.
Friday move follows a The Wall Street Journal report On Wednesday, McMahon agreed to a confidential $3 million settlement with the former employee, who was hired as a legal assistant in 2019. The dismissal agreement, signed in January, aims to prevent the woman from discussing her relationship with McMahon or making derogatory comments. About him, according to the magazine. The report, citing documents and accounts from people familiar with the investigation, said the investigation began in April and has uncovered other nondisclosure agreements over the years that include allegations of misconduct by former employees against McMahon and Laureates.
In its release, WWE said it expects no further comment until the investigation is complete. The company did not specify the allegations against McMahon. WWE also said that the company and its special committee will work with an independent third party to conduct a comprehensive review of the compliance program, human resources function, and general culture.
McMahon bought the then-World Wrestling Federation from his father, Vincent J. Sina.
WWE is a publicly traded company, but McMahon still holds a majority shareholder vote. Shares of the company fell 4% before the opening bell Friday.
Information from ESPN’s Mark Raimondi and The Associated Press was used in this report.