WWE and its board of directors announced that a special committee of the board is conducting an investigation into the alleged misconduct of its president and CEO Vince McMahon and John Laurinaitis, head of talent relations. McMahon will temporarily step down from his position. While the investigation also names Laurinaitis as a person of interest, there is no mention of his retiring from his position at this time.
Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that WWE had launched the investigation, which focused on millionaire payouts to women with whom McMahon is said to have had an affair. The allegations arose after someone who knew an employee who had left the company this year contacted the board and received $3 million for her silence. According to the report, she also discovered other payments and legal agreements with other women over the decades.
“I have pledged to fully cooperate with the special committee’s investigation and will do my best to support the investigation. I have also pledged to accept the findings and outcome of the investigation, whatever it may be,” Mr. McMahon said in a statement.
In response, the Special Committee has appointed Stephanie McMahon to serve as Interim CEO and Interim President of WWE. “I love this company and am committed to working with the independent directors to strengthen our culture and our company,” Stephanie said in a statement. “It is extremely important to me that we have a safe and collaborative workplace. I am committed to doing everything in my power to help the Special Committee complete its work, including obtaining the cooperation of the entire company to help to complete the investigation. and implement their findings.
In May, Stephanie resigned from her CBO position to handle personal and family matters. Her husband and former WWE executive Paul Levesque, also known as Triple H, had been speculated to be in serious health trouble after suffering heart failure in September. WWE did not mention Stephanie’s departure or any public statement, and the reasons for your departure they were debated.
Although WWE stock is publicly traded, Vince McMahon effectively controls the company, WWE stock filings show. As of March he owns the majority of the company’s Class B shares, giving him approximately 80% of the voting power.
Although Vince has stepped down for the time being, he remains the creative lead and will retain his role and responsibilities related to that content. Shortly after WWE announced McMahon’s resignation as CEO, there was another press release announcing that he will make a public appearance and address WWE fans tonight on Smackdown.
WWE and the Board do not expect to have any further comment until the investigation is complete.
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