Vince McMahon Steps Down As WWE CEO Amid Alleged Sexual Harassment Investigation

Vince McMahon at a press conference at MetLife Stadium on February 16, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Michael N. Todaro | Getty Images

world wrestling On Friday, CEO Vince McMahon announced he was stepping down completely after decades of running the company his father founded. In June, the WWE board said it was investigating allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported that married McMahon paid over $12 million to four womenall of whom have been affiliated with WWE for the past 16 years to cover up allegations of sexual harassment and infidelity.

McMahon is by far the most famous professional wrestling promoter in the United States, following in the footsteps of his father Vince McMahon Sr. and grandfather Jess McMahon, who were the top wrestling show promoters in the northeastern United States.

In June, McMahon said he was relinquishing his role as CEO and chairman of WWE in Stamford, Connecticut, while the board of directors continued their investigation by appointing his daughter, Stephanie McMahon, as interim CEO.

But at the time, he said he would retain control of creative content at the company, where he remains the majority shareholder with roughly a 32% stake.

On Friday, McMahon announced that Stephanie and WWE president Nick Khan would become co-CEOs, and that his daughter would become the company’s chairman. McMahon will also no longer play any role related to creative content.

“When I turn 77, I feel it is time for me to step down as Chairman and CEO of WWE,” McMahon said in a statement Friday.

“I would like to thank my family for being a huge contributor to our success, and I would also like to thank all of our former and current superstars and employees for their dedication and passion for our brand,” he said.

“Most importantly, I would like to thank our fans for letting us into their homes every week and choosing entertainment.”

McMahon’s wife Linda, herself a former CEO of WWE, served as head of the Small Business Administration under the then president. Donald Trump from 2017 to 2019.

Trump is inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and, prior to becoming president, participated in wrestling shows hosted by the company.

In 2007, at WrestleMania 23 in Detroit, Trump and McMahon each selected one wrestler to “fight” on their behalf in the so-called “Battle of the Billionaires”.

After Trump wrestler Bobby Lashley used up McMahon’s confidante, Umaga, Trump used electric clippers to shave McMahon’s head.

In the wake of Vince McMahon’s retirement announcement, WWE’s stock price did not change significantly after hours as the number of shares changed hands.

At the close of regular trading on Friday, WWE had a market capitalization of approximately $4.9 billion.

– Additional reporting on CNBC Alex Sherman