In the midst of an ongoing investigation into allegations of wrongdoing, Wrestling impresario Vince McMahon announced Friday he is retiring from his position as chairman and CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment.
In a brief statement issued by WWE, McMahon said he is retiring as the company’s chairman and CEO. He noted that he remains its majority shareholder.Read more: WWE’s Vince McMahon retires amid sexual misconduct probe
“Our global audience can take comfort in knowing WWE will continue to entertain you with the same fervor, dedication, and passion as always,” he wrote in the statement, thanking WWE’s generations of fans all over the world.
There was no mention of the investigation in statement from the company based in Stamford, Connecticut, in which McMahon has been accused of paying millions of dollars to female staff members to suppress several allegations of sexual misconduct and infidelity.
McMahon announced he would step down in June after the Wall Street Journal revealed he was under internal investigation over allegedly paying a departing female colleague $3 million following a consensual affair.
At the time, McMahon said he had would do “everything possible to support the investigation” and promised to accept its findings.
The Journal later reported McMahon had paid more than $12m to four women over the past 16 years — a much larger sum than initially reported in June. The four women had reportedly signed agreements with the WWE star barring them from discussing their relationships with him.
The allegations were just the latest in a career mired by controversies, including accusations he neglected the mental, physical and financial wellbeing of his employees.
His daughter, Stephanie, who was named interim CEO and chairperson last month, will serve as chairperson and share CEO duties with Nick Khan, who joined the company in 2020.
McMahon purchased WWE from his father in 1982 and transformed it from a small business into a global brand that reshaped the wrestling entertainment industry.
He often assumed the role of a pantomime villain in wrestling matches, playing on his status as the billionaire owner of the organisation.
His colourful appearances over decades of wrestling spawned a variety of online memes, often showing his animated face.
Aside from McMahon’s own brand, WWE produced celebrities including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, John Cena and Hulk Hogan.
WWE’s most recent signing is controversial YouTuber Logan Paul, who competed at WrestleMania 38 in April.
– with input from agencies