STAMFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Longtime World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) leader Vince McMahon is stepping aside from his position as CEO and chairman.
The company and its Board of Directors released a joint statement, stating that a special committee of the board is investigating alleged misconduct by McMahon and the company’s head of talent relations, John Laurinaitis.
“Effective immediately, McMahon has voluntarily stepped back from his responsibilities as CEO and Chairman of the Board until the conclusion of the investigation,” the statement read. “McMahon will retain his role and responsibilities related to WWE’s creative content during this period and remains committed to cooperating with the review underway.”
According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, McMahon agreed to “a secret $3 million settlement” regarding an alleged affair with a former employee. The report cited “documents and people familiar with the board inquiry.”
In his place, Stephanie McMahon will serve as interim CEO and interim chairwoman. She is WWE’s chief brand officer, as well as Vince McMahon’s daughter. Her husband, Paul Levesque, who formerly wrestled under the name “Triple H,” works for the company, as well, as its executive vice president of Global Talent Strategy and Development.
“I love this company and am committed to working with the Independent Directors to strengthen our culture and our Company,” Stephanie McMahon said. “It is extremely important to me that we have a safe and collaborative workplace. 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.”
WWE says it does “not expect to have further comment until the investigation has concluded.”
“I have pledged my complete cooperation to the investigation by the Special Committee, and I will do everything possible to support the investigation,” McMahon said in a statement obtained by ESPN. “I have also pledged to accept the findings and outcome of the investigation, whatever they are.”
The 76-year-old bought the company, which was first known as the World Wrestling Foundation, from his father back in 1982 and has since created WWE as the largest professional wrestling promotion in the world.