Vince McMahon steps down as WWE Chairman and CEO amid investigation into alleged silent money payment

Vince McMahon steps down as WWE Chairman and CEO amid investigation into alleged silent money payment

Vince McMahon is stepping down from his role as CEO and president of World Wrestling Entertainment amid an investigation into a report that he agreed to pay a former employee money for an alleged affair, the company announced Friday.

WWE said in a statement that a “Special Committee of the Board of Directors is investigating the alleged misconduct of its President and CEO Vincent McMahon and John Laurinaitis, Head of Talent Relations, and that, Effective immediately, McMahon has voluntarily stepped down from his responsibilities as CEO and Chairman of the Board pending the conclusion of the investigation.”

McMahon is cooperating with the investigation, WWE said, and “will retain his role and responsibilities related to WWE Creative Content during this time.”

“I have pledged my full cooperation with the Special Committee’s investigation, and I will do my best to support the investigation. I have also pledged 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 interim CEO and president, WWE said.

Friday’s decision follows a Wall Street Journal report on Wednesday that McMahon agreed to a secret $3 million settlement with the former employee, who was hired as a paralegal in 2019. The separation agreement, which has was signed in January, is intended to prevent the woman from discussing her relationship with McMahon or making derogatory comments about him, according to the Journal. The report, citing documents and the accounts of people familiar with the investigation, says an investigation began in April and uncovered other nondisclosure agreements over the years involving former employee misconduct complaints. against McMahon and Laurinaitis.

In its statement, WWE said no further comment was expected until the investigation is complete. The company did not elaborate on the allegations against McMahon. WWE also said the company and its special committee would work with an independent third party to conduct a comprehensive review of its compliance program, HR function and overall culture.

McMahon purchased the then World Wrestling Federation from his father, Vincent J. McMahon, in 1982 and turned 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. Cena.

WWE is a publicly traded company, but McMahon still holds the majority of shareholder voting rights. Shares of the company slid 4% before the opening bell on Friday.

Information from Marc Raimondi of ESPN and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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