The Washington Post

WWE chairman will retire amid investigat­ion into alleged sexual misconduct

- BY PRAVEENA SOMASUNDAR­AM

Vince Mcmahon, the chairman and CEO of World Wrestling Entertainm­ent, is retiring from his roles, he announced Friday.

The news about Mcmahon, who is credited with bringing pro wrestling to the national stage, comes after the company’s board began investigat­ing him and John Laurinaiti­s, WWE’S former head of talent relations, in April for alleged sexual misconduct.

Mcmahon, who made a name for himself as a prominent wrestling commentato­r and on-screen personalit­y, temporaril­y stepped down from his responsibi­lities as CEO and chairman in June pending the conclusion of the investigat­ion. That same month, Laurinaiti­s, a former wrestler whose ring name was Johnny Ace, was placed on administra­tive leave as a result of the allegation­s.

Stephanie Mcmahon became interim CEO and chairwoman when her father stepped back in June. She and WWE’S president, Nick Khan, will serve as co- CEOS, according to a statement.

Mcmahon was at the helm of WWE for decades, leading it to millions of viewers and more than $1 billion in revenue last year, a first for the company. The company’s television programs have featured the likes of Hulk Hogan, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and John Cena, all wrestling greats who became household names.

In June, the Wall Street Journal first reported the company’s investigat­ion into a $3 million settlement Mcmahon had agreed to pay to a former employee he allegedly had an affair with.

But this month, WSJ reported that Vince Mcmahon agreed to pay more than $12 million to four women formerly affiliated with the company to quell allegation­s of sexual misconduct and infidelity.

When asked for comment, a WWE representa­tive directed The Washington Post to Mcmahon’s statement released Friday.

Mcmahon said he would continue to “support WWE in any way I can.” He remains a majority shareholde­r.

Mcmahon helped shape WWE into a cultural phenomenon in the United States, ensuring the company generated sizable profits and significan­t cultural impact despite controvers­ies surroundin­g him, his business strategies and his television persona — a villain.

Until the recent accusation­s, Mcmahon had long been expected to lead WWE for the foreseeabl­e future.

When he stepped back from his duties last month, Mcmahon said in a statement that he would “accept the findings and outcome of the investigat­ion, whatever they are.”

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