WWE’s Vince McMahon is back after misconduct investigation

Jan 5, 2023, 8:37 PM | Updated: Jan 6, 2023, 11:40 am

FILE - Vince McMahon stands at Republican state convention in Hartford, Conn., Friday, May 18, 2012...

FILE - Vince McMahon stands at Republican state convention in Hartford, Conn., Friday, May 18, 2012. McMahon is rejoining the board of WWE several months after he stepped down as CEO and chairman of the sports entertainment company during an an investigation into alleged misconduct. Shares surged more than 22% in midday trading on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

(AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

Vince McMahon is rejoining the board of WWE several months after he retired from the sports entertainment company during an investigation into alleged misconduct.

WWE said Friday that McMahon, the founder and majority shareholder of WWE, would return as executive chairman. It also announced a board shakeup.

Shares surged more than 22%.

McMahon retired as WWE’s chairman and CEO in July. He had stepped down temporarily from the posts a month earlier. The Wall Street Journal reported over the summer that McMahon agreed to pay more than $12 million over the past 16 years to suppress allegations of sexual misconduct and infidelity.

The Stamford, Connecticut, company said Friday that it would be looking at “all strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value.”

There have been rumors that WWE may be interested in selling the organization to another entertainment company.

McMahon appeared to address that possibility in a letter to the board, dated Dec. 20, but published Friday.

“I believe WWE has a unique opportunity during this critical juncture to maximize value for its shareholders and all other stakeholders,” McMahon wrote. “Specifically, given the rapidly evolving media landscape in which more and more companies are seeking to own the intellectual property offered on their streaming platforms – I firmly believe that the best thing to do for all of WWE’s shareholders and other stakeholders is to undertake a comprehensive review of strategic alternatives.”

The company said in early November that an investigation of a special committee formed to look into the misconduct allegations was completed and that the committee was disbanded.

The company on Friday did not immediately return requests from The Associated Press seeking details about the findings of that committee. It did say at the time that the company was implementing some of the suggestions of the committee.

McMahon’s return coincides with the airing of some of WWE’s biggest premium live events of the year. The Royal Rumble takes place this month in Texas, while Wrestlemania, a two-day event, begins in April.

McMahon said in a prepared statement that he doesn’t intend for his return to have any impact on the roles, duties or responsibilities of WWE’s existing management team. His daughter, Stephanie McMahon, serves as co-CEO, along with Nick Khan. McMahon’s son-in-law, Paul Levesque, who wrestled under the name Triple H, serves as chief content officer.

McMahon controlled a majority of company shares even after his retirement, giving him the power to engineer a board shakeup upon his return. Three board members, JoEllen Lyons Dillon, Jeffrey R. Speed and Alan M. Wexler, were ousted to make room for McMahon and two other board members, Michelle Wilson and George Barrios.

Vince McMahon has been among the most recognizable faces at WWE for decades.

When he purchased what was then the World Wrestling Federation from his father in 1982, wrestling matches took place at small venues and appeared on local cable channels.

WWE matches are now held in professional sports stadiums and the company has a sizeable overseas following.

The organization underwent a seismic transformation under McMahon with events like WrestleMania, a premium live production that draws millions of fervent viewers.

Revenue in 2021 exceeded $1 billion for the first time and the company has television deals with Fox and NBCUniversal. It announced a multi-year expansion of its original programming partnership with A&E in May 2022.

WWE stars have become crossover sensations, including Hulk Hogan, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and John Cena.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

WWE’s Vince McMahon is back after misconduct investigation