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WWE boss Vince McMahon resigns as CEO during misconduct investigation

WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon speaks at a press conference announcing the WWE network at CES 2014 in Las Vegas.

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WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon is stepping down as the company’s board investigates alleged misconduct by the executive, the company said Friday.

The announcement of the board’s special committee transition and investigation came two days after The Wall Street Journal reported that the WWE board was looking for McMahon for paying the former employee $ 3 million to keep her silent about the alleged romance between them.

The report said the investigation also revealed previous non-disclosure agreements with former WWE staff members who alleged misconduct against McMahon and another leader, John Lavrinaitis, who had previously fought under the name Johnny Ace. The council’s investigation began in April, the magazine said.

“I have promised to cooperate fully with the Special Committee’s investigation and will do my utmost to support the investigation,” McMahon said in a press release Friday. “I also promised to accept the conclusions and results of the investigation, whatever they may be.”

According to the release, McMahon will remain involved in the creative content of the media campaign.

Hours after the announcement, WWE tweeted that McMahon would appear live on the Smackdown show on Friday night on Fox. According to a person familiar with the case, he will turn to controversy, but will do so in the characters of his traditionally ruthless role, “Mr. McMahon.” The WWE authors worked on Friday to rework the script for “Smackdown,” which was completed earlier this week, the man added.

The role of CEO remains in the family. McMann’s daughter, Stephanie McMann, will serve as interim chairman and CEO. In May, Stephanie McMahon said she was giving up most of her responsibilities as head of WWE to spend more time with her family. The appointment is a signal that the power structure will not change even if Vince McMahon resigns, says a man familiar with the case.

“I love this company and are committed to working with independent directors to strengthen our culture and our company; it is extremely important to me that we have a safe and collaborative workplace, ”Stephanie McMahon said in a release. “I have undertaken to do my utmost to help the Special Committee complete its work, including to cooperate with the whole company to assist in the completion of the investigation and the implementation of its findings.”

The announcement did not mention whether Lavrinaitis, the head of the company’s talent relations department, would also step down while the investigation continues. WWE did not immediately respond to a request for further comment. In a release, WWE said: “The company and the board are not awaiting further comments until the investigation is completed.”

Vince McMahon, 76, is married to Linda McMahon, a former CEO of a wrestling company that served as head of the Small Business Administration under then-President Donald Trump, a member of the WWE Hall of Fame.

While WWE is a public company, McMahon, a brilliant leader who regularly acted out the plots of wrestling dramas in front of the camera, is actually a shareholder of control. He bought the company from his father 40 years ago and has organized its growth into a global brand that fills the arena that has media partnerships with Fox, Hulu and Peacock NBCUniversal, among others.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.

WWE boss Vince McMahon resigns as CEO during misconduct investigation

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