WWE has publicly published a press release this morning revealing that Vince McMahon will be stepping down as the WWE CEO and Chairman, with Stephanie McMahon taking over in an interim capacity, effective immediately.
While Vince has made the decision on a voluntary basis, he will still be retaining his role in relation to WWE’s creative department during this time period.
The press release reads:
STAMFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– WWE and its Board of Directors jointly released the following statement today:
Independent directors continue review of alleged executive misconduct
Stephanie McMahon named interim CEO and interim Chairwoman
Stamford, Conn. – WWE (NYSE: WWE) and the Board of Directors today announced that a Special Committee of the Board is conducting an investigation into alleged misconduct by its Chairman and CEO Vincent McMahon and John Laurinaitis, head of talent relations, and that, effective immediately, McMahon has voluntarily stepped back from his responsibilities as CEO and Chairman of the Board until the conclusion of the investigation. McMahon will retain his role and responsibilities related to WWE’s creative content during this period and remains committed to cooperating with the review underway.
The Special Committee has appointed Stephanie McMahon to serve as interim CEO and interim Chairwoman.
“I have pledged my complete cooperation to the investigation by the Special Committee, and I will do everything possible to support the investigation. I have also pledged to accept the findings and outcome of the investigation, whatever they are,” said Mr. McMahon.
“I love this company and am committed to working with the Independent Directors to strengthen our culture and our Company; it is extremely important to me that we have a safe and collaborative workplace. I have committed to doing everything in my power to help the Special Committee complete its work, including marshaling the cooperation of the entire company to assist in the completion of the investigation and to implement its findings,” said Ms. McMahon.
WWE and its Board of Directors take all allegations of misconduct very seriously. The Independent Directors of the Board engaged independent legal counsel to assist them with 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, HR function and overall culture.
The Company and the Board do not expect to have further comment until the investigation is concluded.
This news comes in the wake of the Wall Street Journal’s report that the board of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. is investigating a $3 million settlement, paid to a former employee by WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon with whom he allegedly had an affair. The company claimed that the relationship was consensual and that “WWE did not pay any monies” to the former employee.
On top of that allegation, other non-disclosure agreements by former employees were also found in the investigation, as well as claims of misconduct against McMahon and Head Of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis.
This is the reason for Vince stepping down from his role, which will also bring Stephanie back into work, just a month after she announced a leave of absence from her previous job as the Chief Brand Officer.
Stephanie had previously tweeted “As of tomorrow, I am taking a leave of absence from the majority of my responsibilities at WWE. WWE is a lifelong legacy for me and I look forward to returning to the company that I love after taking this time to focus on my family.” However, now she will be taking charge of the entire company, on an interim basis as the investigation continues.
$$$$$$ Several million shares of WWE stock were sold right before this broke in the news, back on Tuesday, so allegations of inside trading are also popping up….$$$$$$