Vince McMahon retires as WWE President amid investigation into alleged misconduct of the pro wrestling chief

Vince McMahon attends a press conference at MetLife Stadium on February 16, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Michael N. Todaro | Getty Images

World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Vince McMahon announced Friday that he is retiring fully after decades of leading the company his father founded, a move that comes after revelations in June that WWE was investigating allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that married McMahon paid more than $12 million to four women, all affiliated with WWE, over the past 16 years to cover up allegations of sexual misconduct and infidelity.

McMahon is by far the most famous promoter of professional wrestling in the United States, following in the footsteps of his father, Vince McMahon Sr., and grandfather, Jess McMahon, who were leading promoters of heavily scripted events in the Northeast United States. .

The younger McMahon, after taking control of WWE from his father in 1982, turned what had been a regional promotion into a multi-billion dollar international phenomenon, featuring stars including Hulk Hogan and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Following the Journal’s report in June that he paid a former WWE legal partner $3 million to keep her quiet about her relationship with him, McMahon said he’s stepping back from his role as CEO and Chairman of Stamford, Connecticut. Board investigation proceeded. His daughter Stephanie McMahon has been appointed as interim CEO.

But he said at the time that he would retain control of the company’s creative content, where he remains the largest shareholder, with about 32% of its shares.

On Friday, McMahon announced that Stephanie and WWE Chairman Nick Kahn are taking over as co-CEO, and that his daughter will become the company’s chairman.

McMahon will also not have any role that involves creative content.

“As I approach 77 years of age, I feel it is time for me to retire as WWE Chairman and CEO,” McMahon said in a statement.

“I would like to thank my family for contributing so strongly to our success, and I would also like to thank all the stars and employees, past and present, for their dedication and passion for our brand,” he said.

“Most importantly, I want to thank our fans for letting us into your homes every week and for being your entertainment choice.”

Linda, wife of McMahon, the former CEO of WWE, served as chairman of the Small Business Administration under then-President Donald Trump from 2017 until 2019.

Trump is a recruited member of the WWE Hall of Fame. Before becoming president, he participated in wrestling shows held by the company.

In 2007, at WrestleMania 23 in Detroit, Trump and McMahon chose a wrestler each to “fight” on their behalf in what he called the “Battle of Billionaires”.

After Trump’s wrestler, Bobby Lashley, outwitted McMahon’s agent, Umaga, Trump used electric scissors to shave McMahon’s head.

In the wake of the announcement of Vince McMahon’s retirement, WWE’s stock price did not change significantly in after-hours trading, which saw stock trading down.

At the close of regular trading on Friday, WWE’s market capitalization was approximately $4.9 billion.

Additional reporting by CNBC Alex Sherman

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