WWE CEO Vince McMahon Retires While Facing Probe Over Payment

WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon speaks at a news conference announcing the WWE Network at the 2014 International CES at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas on Jan. 8, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Vince McMahon (Image credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Wrestling titan Vince McMahon on Friday announced his retirement as chairman and CEO of WWE. McMahon had “stepped back” from his executive responsibilities last month while charges of misconduct were being investigated.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the board was looking into a secret $3 million settlement McMahon agreed to pay to a departing employee with whom he allegedly had an affair.

Also: WWE Reviews Financial Reports to Reflect Payments By McMahon

When McMahon stepped back, his daughter Stephanie McMahon became interim CEO and chairman. She will serve as chairman and co-CEO now that Vince McMahon has retired. Nick Khan will also be co-CEO.

Earlier on Friday, Stephanie McMahon's husband, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, said he would be resuming his executive position as executive VP of talent relations.

After stepping back, McMahon continued to work on WWE’s content and appeared on Smackdown on Fox. A WWE spokesman Friday said that McMahon is now “fully retired” from the company. 

“As I approach 77 years old, I feel it’s time for me to retire as Chairman and CEO of WWE. Throughout the years, it’s been a privilege to help WWE bring you joy, inspire you, thrill you, surprise you, and always entertain you. I would like to thank my family for mightily contributing to our success, and I would also like to thank all of our past and present Superstars and employees for their dedication and passion for our brand,” McMahon said in a statement. “Most importantly, I would like to thank our fans for allowing us into your homes every week and being your choice of entertainment.”

While he said the company was in capable hands with his daughter and Khan, “as the majority shareholder, I will continue to support WWE in any way I can. My personal thanks to our community and business partners, shareholders, and board of directors for their guidance and support through the years. Then. Now. Forever. Together.”  ■

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.