STAMFORD, ct. (CW44 News At 10 | CNN) — WWE CEO, Vince McMahon has resigned from his responsibilities as chairman and CEO while the wrestling company’s board of directors is investigating him for alleged misconduct.
In the meantime, his daughter Stephanie McMahon will serve as interim CEO and interim chairman, WWE said in a statement Friday.
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McMahon won’t disappear from the company altogether. He will retain his role in WWE’s creative content as the investigation continues, and will appear as a character in wrestling matches. The company tweeted Friday that McMahon would be appearing on the company’s Friday night wrestling show, “Smackdown,” which airs on Fox.
A special committee of the company’s board has begun investigating McMahon. The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that McMahon paid a $3 million secret settlement to a former employee with whom he was allegedly having an affair. The divorce deal, reportedly signed in January, prevents the former unnamed employee “from discussing her relationship with Mr. McMahon or belittling him,” according to the Journal.
“I have pledged my full cooperation to the Special Committee’s investigation and I will do everything possible to support the investigation,” McMahon said in the statement. “I also pledged to accept the findings and outcome of the investigation, whatever they may be.”
The investigation reportedly began in April and has “uncovered other, older nondisclosure agreements involving former WWE female employees’ claims of misconduct by Mr. McMahon,” the Journal reported. Other misconduct claims were reportedly found against John Laurinaitis, the company’s head of talent relations.
WWE said Friday it takes “all allegations of misconduct very seriously” and has engaged independent legal services to assist with the assessment. A third party will also conduct “a comprehensive assessment of the company’s compliance program, HR function and overall culture.”
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The company’s board of directors is made up of executives who report to McMahon and even members of McMahon’s own family. That includes both Stephanie McMahon and Paul Levesque, her husband and former wrestler who goes by the stage name Triple H. Vince McMahon has the majority of the vote.
McMahon has been an integral part of WWE for decades, both behind the scenes and in the ring.
The CEO helped transform the company into a media powerhouse, which currently has deals with Fox and NBCUniversal. McMahon has also helped create many famous wrestlers, such as The Rock, John Cena, and Stone Cold Steve Austin, who have grown bigger than WWE itself.
WWE shares are up more than 30% so far, an outlier in the current bear market.
— Frank Pallotta of CNN Business contributed to this report.
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