WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon has voluntarily stepped down from his responsibilities amid an ongoing investigation into alleged misconduct, the company announced in a news release Friday (June 17) morning.
“I have pledged my complete cooperation to the investigation by the Special Committee, and I will do everything possible to support the investigation. I have also pledged to accept the findings and outcome of the investigation, whatever they are,” McMahon said in the joint release on behalf of WWE and its Board of Directors.
McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie, who announced her own temporary leave of absence last month, will return and assume her fathers roles on an interim basis.
“Until the conclusion of the investigation into recent allegations, I am honored to assume the role of interim Chairwoman & CEO,” Stephanie McMahon tweeted. “I love @WWE and all it continues to do to entertain billions around the world.”
McMahon’s decision to step down comes amid news of his $3 million hush-money settlement paid to a woman over an alleged affair and an investigation into the incident by WWE’s Board of Directors being announced in an exclusive report by the Wall Street Journal on June 15.
According to the Journal, the agreement was made in January to prevent the woman, a former WWE paralegal, from discussing her relationship with McMahon or making critical statements about him publicly.
A spokesperson for WWE confirmed to the Journal that the company is cooperating with the board’s investigation — which was launched in April — and that the relationship between the 76-year-old and the former employee was consensual.
McMahon has been married to his wife, Linda — who served as WWE’s president and later CEO from 1980 to 2009 and later as Small Business Administration chief as part of former President Donald Trump‘s administration from 2017 to 2019 — since 1966.
The Journal also reports that the board’s investigation revealed other nondisclosure pacts stemming from misconduct claims involving other women who had previously worked for WWE, which involved McMahon and John Laurinaitis, WWE’s general manager of talent relations.
The news comes less than a month after Stephanie announced her decision to take “a leave of absence” from the company effective on May 20.
WWE president and chief revenue officer Nick Khan took over “most of Stephanie McMahon’s duties in her absence,” Wrestlenomics‘ Brandon Thurston reported at the time of the announcement, citing multiple sources “at WWE.”