By Luka Williams
Following reports of an ongoing investigation into alleged wrongdoing by Mr. McMahon and John Laurinaitis, WWE’s head of talent relations, Vince McMahon resigned as chairman and CEO of the wrestling company, and Stephanie McMahon was elected chairwoman and CEO.
This information was released in a joint statement from WWE and its Board of Directors, which includes the following: “[Mr.] McMahon has voluntarily resigned from his roles as CEO and Chairman of the Board until the inquiry is complete. During this time, McMahon will continue to have a role in overseeing WWE’s creative output, and he is still committed to working with the review team. Stephanie McMahon has been chosen by the Special Committee to act as temporary CEO and chairwoman.
In a personal statement, Mr. McMahon stated, “I have promised my entire cooperation to the Special Committee’s inquiry, and I will do all necessary to help the probe. Additionally, I have promised to accept whatever the investigation’s findings and conclusion are.
In her own personal statement, Ms. McMahon stated, “I love this firm and am dedicated to working with the Independent Directors to develop our culture and our Company; it is crucial to me that we have a safe and cooperative workplace. I’ve vowed to do all in my power to support the Special Committee’s work, including enlisting the support of the whole organization to aid with the conclusion of the inquiry and the application of its recommendations.
Additionally, it was said in the joint statement that the Board of Directors and WWE “consider any claims of misbehavior extremely seriously. The board’s independent directors hired outside legal counsel to help them conduct an impartial examination. The company’s compliance program, HR function, and general culture will also be thoroughly examined by the Special Committee and WWE in collaboration with an impartial third party. Until the inquiry is over, the Company and the Board do not anticipate making any other comments.
This news follows a sensational Wall Street Journal article claiming that the CEO of WWE covertly paid a $3 million settlement to a former employee with whom he allegedly had a consensual relationship in January 2022.
According to WSJ, the WWE board of directors launched an investigation after receiving a string of anonymous emails from someone claiming to be a friend of the former WWE employee who was employed in 2019 as a paralegal. The letters started arriving on March 30. Other, earlier nondisclosure agreements relating to former female WWE workers and claimed wrongdoing by Mr. McMahon and Laurinaitis would later be uncovered by the inquiry.
Regarding the purported $3 million settlement, WSJ would add, “The first email, written to board members on March 30, said that Mr. McMahon, 76, had recruited the lady at a $100,000 salary originally but raised it to $200,000 after starting a relationship with her. Mr. Laurinaitis was allegedly treated “like a toy” by Mr. McMahon, according to the email sent to the board. According to those involved with the investigation, the board is looking into the claims made in the email.