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Vince McMahon to Return as WWE Executive Chairman

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
Vince McMahon was forced out of his role in July after allegations of sexual misconduct. He’s set to return to guide the company through media rights negotiations.

Vince McMahon will re-assume his role as executive chairman of WWE, he announced on Thursday. McMahon, 77, retired in July as the company’s CEO and chairman, following an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct involving four female employees. Now, he’s set to return to guide WWE through the media rights negotiation process.

His filing, which is effective immediately, puts McMahon, Michelle Wilson, and George Barrios on the board and removes independent directors Alan Wexler, JoEllen Lyons Dillon, and Jeffrey Speed.

“The only way for WWE to fully capitalize on this opportunity is for me to return as Executive Chairman and support the management team in the negotiations for our media rights and to combine that with a review of strategic alternatives,” McMahon said in his announcement. “My return will allow WWE, as well as any transaction counter-parties, to engage in these processes knowing they will have the support of the controlling shareholder.”

WWE will now brace for considerable blowback. McMahon “retired” last year during an ongoing investigation in which a special committee probe unveiled that he’d paid nearly $15 million to four women to silence sexual misconduct allegations against him. But McMahon is the largest stakeholder in the company, thus his power overruled any sort of objection to his return. He voiced how stakeholders would “support” the decision.

McMahon wrote the following on Dec. 20:

“I believe WWE has a unique opportunity during this critical juncture to maximize value for its shareholders and all other stakeholders. 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. I am confident that our other shareholders will support this decision.”

“Mr. McMahon can effectively exercise control over our affairs,” the company said in a November regulatory filing.

Shares of the company jumped 10% after hours following McMahon’s announcement. While temporarily retired, his daughter Stephanie and former company president Nick Khan became co-CEOs. He also appointed son-in-law Paul Levesque — better known by his wrestling name “Triple H” — as Chief Content Officer and Head of Content.

The board reportedly pushed back on McMahon’s attempted return, but to no avail.

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About The Author
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio is a former Staff Writer at Boardroom. Puccio has 10 years of experience in journalism and content creation, previously working for SB Nation, The Associated Press, New York Daily News, SNY, and Front Office Sports. In 2016, he received New York University's CCTOP scholarship and earned a bachelor's degree in Communications from St. John's University. He can be spotted a mile away thanks to his plaid suits and thick New York accent. Don't believe us? Check his Twitter @APooch.