Vince McMahon Returns to WWE Board of Directors After Misconduct Investigation

The Wall Street Journal reported that over the summer, McMahon agreed to pay millions over the past 16 years to quell allegations of sexual harassment and infidelity.

STAMFORD, Connecticut. Vince McMahon returns to the WWE board months after he left the sports entertainment company during an investigation into alleged misconduct.

On Friday, WWE announced that McMahon, founder and majority shareholder of WWE, would return as executive chairman. He also announced a shake-up of the board of directors.

Shares rose more than 22%.

McMahon stepped down as chairman and CEO of WWE in July. A month earlier, he temporarily resigned from his posts. The Wall Street Journal reported in the summer that McMahon had agreed to pay out more than $12 million over the past 16 years to refute allegations of sexual harassment and infidelity.

On Friday, Stamford, Connecticut, said it would consider “all strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value.”

There were rumors that WWE might be interested in selling the organization to another entertainment company.

McMahon considered the possibility in a letter to the board dated Dec. 20 but released on Friday.

“I believe WWE has a unique opportunity at this critical time to maximize value for its shareholders and all other stakeholders,” McMahon wrote. “In particular, given the rapidly evolving media landscape in which more and more companies seek to own the intellectual property offered on their streaming platforms, I strongly believe that the best thing that can be done for all WWE shareholders and other stakeholders is to conduct a comprehensive review of strategic alternatives.”

In early November, the company said that the investigation into the special commission set up to investigate allegations of misconduct had been completed and that the committee had been disbanded.

The company did not respond Friday to requests from the Associated Press for details of the committee’s findings. At the time, it was said that the company was implementing some of the committee’s proposals.

McMahon’s return coincides with the airing of some of the biggest premium live events of the year in WWE. The Royal Rumble is taking place in Texas this month, and the two-day Wrestlemania event kicks off in April.

McMahon said in a prepared statement that he does not intend for his return to have any impact on the roles, duties, or responsibilities of the existing WWE management team. His daughter Stephanie McMahon is co-CEO with Nick Khan. McMahon’s son-in-law, Paul Levesque, alias Triple H, is director of content.

McMahon controlled most of the company’s stock even after his retirement, which left him open to a board reshuffle upon his return. Three board members, Joellen Lyons Dillon, Jeffrey R. Speed, and Alan M. Wexler, were fired to make room for McMahon and two other board members, Michelle Wilson and George Barrios.

Vince McMahon has been one of the most recognizable faces in WWE for decades.

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

WWE matches are now played in professional sports stadiums, and the company has a large following overseas.

The organization has undergone a seismic transformation under McMahon’s leadership with events such as WrestleMania, a premium live production that attracts millions of fervent viewers.

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

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

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