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WWE founder and CEO Vince McMahon, who stepped aside from his executive duties last month amid a board probe into alleged misconduct claims, is retiring from the company. That will include his executive responsibilities and also the company’s creative responsibilities, which he oversaw. McMahon also appeared on WWE programming in character, but those appearances will also end.
The WWE announced the decision in a statement Friday, adding that his daughter Stephanie McMahon serving as chairwoman and co-CEO and WWE president Nick Khan also becoming co-CEO.
McMahon will remain the company’s majority shareholder, and he added in his statement that “I will continue to support WWE in any way I can.”
“As I approach 77 years old, I feel it’s time for me to retire as Chairman and CEO of WWE,” McMahon said in a statement. “Throughout the years, it’s been a privilege to help WWE bring you joy, inspire you, thrill you, surprise you, and always entertain you. I would like to thank my family for mightily contributing to our success, and I would also like to thank all of our past and present Superstars and employees for their dedication and passion for our brand. Most importantly, I would like to thank our fans for allowing us into your homes every week and being your choice of entertainment.”
McMahon’s retirement comes amid an investigation by the company’s board of directors into allegations that he had sexual relationships with employees at the company and subsequently paid the women millions of dollars as part of their severance packages.
The board initiated the investigation earlier this year, with McMahon adding in a statement at the time, “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.”
The WWE is a significant content supplier to both NBCUniversal and Fox. WWE programming is among the most popular shows on USA, while the company’s flagship events, like WrestleMania, are on Peacock. Fox, meanwhile, airs WWE’s Smackdown on Friday nights. The WWE also produces programming for other companies like A+E Networks and Netflix.
The allegations also involved another WWE executive, head of talent relations John Laurinaitis, who used to wrestle under the stage name “Johnny Ace.” The WWE did not address Laurinaitis in its statement Friday, but it did release a separate press release with a statement from Stephanie McMahon’s husband, Paul “HHH” Levesque, saying that he would be “returning to my prior position as head of Talent Relations.”
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