Vince McMahon, one of the most iconic names in pro wrestling, is stepping down as CEO and chairman of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). However, as the Wall Street Journal reported, the 76-year-old billionaire will still remain with the organization in a creative capacity.
Last month, his daughter Stephanie McMahon Levesque announced that she was temporarily stepping away from her post as WWE Chief Brand Officer and “taking this time to focus on my family.” But the board has now appointed her the interim CEO as the investigation of her father’s affair escalates.
“I love this company and am committed to working with the Independent Directors to strengthen our culture and our Company; it is extremely important to me that we have a safe and collaborative workplace,” said Ms. McMahon Levesque in her press statement. “I have committed to doing everything in my power to help the Special Committee complete its work, including marshaling the cooperation of the entire company to assist in the completion of the investigation and to implement its findings.”
Her father is being investigated by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP over allegations he paid $3 million in hush money to a former company staffer so she wouldn’t disclose details of their sexual liaison. Documents reportedly show that McMahon, who has been married to his wife Linda for 56 years, made the payments from his own personal accounts.
A further inquiry supposedly unearthed a collection of such settlements made between McMahon and previous female employees. In fact, WSJ claims there is paperwork showing he made a similar payment on behalf of John Laurinaitis, the WWE general manager of talent relations. (Laurinaitis appears to no longer be on Instagram. He is still on Twitter, but he is notably sporadic on that particular platform.)
Vince McMahon’s legal team asserts that the relationship between himself and the woman in question was consensual. And he also said that he “will do everything possible to support the investigation” in his own press release earlier today. But temporarily deposed CEO ended with the following: “I have also pledged to accept the findings and outcome of the investigation, whatever they are.”