Vince McMahon, a long-time executive for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE ) who helped transform professional wrestling from a sideshow curiosity into a mainstream phenomenon, has stepped down as chairman and CEO while the company’s board investigates allegations of misconduct against him, the company announced on Friday and Stephanie McMahon Named Interim CEO.
Stephanie McMahon, his daughter, will serve as interim chief executive and chairwoman, according to a statement from the company. Mr. McMahon will continue to be involved with W.W.E.’s creative content and “remains committed to cooperating with the ongoing review,” according to the company.
“I have pledged my complete cooperation to the investigation by the Special Committee, and I will do everything possible to support the investigation,” Mr. McMahon said in a statement. “I have also pledged to accept the findings and outcome of the investigation, whatever they are.”
Stephanie McMahon said in her own personal statement,
McMahon has been in charge of the company for 40 years, having taken over for his father in 1982, when it was known as the World Wrestling Federation. During the investigation, he will retain control of the WWE’s creative output, and the company has announced that he will appear on Friday night’s episode of SmackDown.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the board is looking into a $3 million payout made to a woman to cover up an alleged consensual affair between a WWE paralegal and McMahon, who has been accused of sexual misconduct in the past.
According to the newspaper, the board’s investigation uncovered several other nondisclosure agreements reached in relation to other misconduct claims made by women who worked for WWE against McMahon and Head of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis.
In addition to investigating the allegations against McMahon and Laurinaitis, the company stated that it would hire an outside firm to review the company’s human resources department and overall culture.
The McMahon family has been involved in wrestling for over a century, and Vince McMahon frequently casts himself and his children as villains in WWE storylines. With the closure of World Championship Wrestling in 2001, the company achieved a near-monopoly in the industry.
Mr. McMahon’s lawyer told The Journal that the employee had made no claims of harassment against Mr. McMahon and that he paid the settlement with personal funds.
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Mr. McMahon, the pro wrestling company’s chairman, and CEO, agreed to pay a secret settlement to an employee with whom he was said to have had an affair.
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