WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon speaks at a press conference announcing the WWE Network at CES 2014 in Las Vegas.
The announcement of the move and the Board Committee’s investigation come two days after The Wall Street Journal reported that the WWE Board of Directors was looking into McMahon to pay $3 million to a former employee to keep her quiet about an alleged relationship between them.
The report said the investigation also found previous nondisclosure agreements with former female WWE employees who allege misconduct against McMahon and another CEO, John Laurinaitis, who used to wrestle under the name Johnny Ice. The Wall Street Journal reported that the board’s investigation began in April.
“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,” McMahon said. Friday press release. I also pledged to accept the findings and results of the investigation, whatever they may be.”
McMahon will remain involved in the wrestling media company’s creative content, according to the statement.
McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie McMahon, will take over as interim CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors. Stephanie McMahon said in May that she was stepping back from her role as a WWE CEO to spend more time with her family.
“I love this company and am committed to working with independent directors to advance our culture and our company; it is very important to me that we have a safe and collaborative workplace,” Stephanie McMahon said in the statement. “I have committed to doing everything in my power to help the Special Commission complete its work, including enlisting the cooperation of the entire company to help complete the investigation and implement its findings.”
The announcement did not say whether Lorenitz, the company’s head of talent relations, would also step down from his duties while the investigation was opened. WWE did not immediately respond to a request for further comment. “The company and the board do not expect to receive further comment until the investigation is over,” WWE said in its statement.
Vince McMahon, 76, is married to Linda McMahon, a former CEO of the wrestling company who served as the head of the Small Business Department under then-President Donald Trump, a WWE celebrity.
While WWE is a publicly traded company, McMahon, a flamboyant CEO who has routinely acted on wrestling drama stories in front of the camera, is actually the controlling shareholder. He bought the company from his father 40 years ago and orchestrated its growth into a global arena packaging brand that has media partnerships with Fox, Hulu, and NBCUniversal’s Peacock, among others.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.
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