Vince McMahon Announces Retirement
By Jason Hall
July 22, 2022
McMahon confirmed his daughter, Stephanie, and WWE President Nick Khan would take over as co-CEOs amid his departure.
“As I approach 77 years old, I feel it’s time for me to retire as Chairman and CEO of WWE. Throughout the years, it’s been a privilege to help WWE bring you joy, inspire you, thrill you, surprise you, and always entertain you. I would like to thank my family for mightily contributing to our success, and I would also like to thank all of our past and present Superstars and employees for their dedication and passion for our brand. Most importantly, I would like to thank our fans for allowing us into your homes every week and being your choice of entertainment. I hold the deepest appreciation and admiration for our generations of fans all over the world who have liked, currently like, and sometimes even love our form of Sports Entertainment.
“Our global audience can take comfort in knowing WWE will continue to entertain you with the same fervor, dedication, and passion as always. I am extremely confident in the continued success of WWE, and I leave our company in the capable hands of an extraordinary group of Superstars, employees, and executives – in particular, both Chairwoman and Co-CEO Stephanie McMahon and Co-CEO Nick Khan. As the majority shareholder, I will continue to support WWE in any way I can. My personal thanks to our community and business partners, shareholders, and Board of Directors for their guidance and support through the years. Then. Now. Forever. Together.”
McMahon's decision comes one month after his announcement to voluntarily stepped down from his responsibilities amid an ongoing investigation into alleged misconduct.
Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal, which exclusively reported WWE's investigation a $3 million hush-money settlement paid by McMahon to a woman over an alleged affair, reported that the 76-year-old paid more than $12 million in hush money to four women during the past 16 years in an effort to suppress allegations of sexual misconduct and infidelity.
All four of the women were formerly affiliated with WWE and signed agreements with McMahon prohibiting them from discussing possible legal claims or their relationship with him publicly, sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed to the Journal.
The newer reported settlements include McMahon paying $7.5 million to a former WWE wrestler who claimed McMahon coerced her into giving him oral sex and then demoted her before ultimately deciding not to renew her contract after she resisted additional sexual encounters, sources familiar with the situation confirmed to the Journal.
A WWE contractor also claimed that McMahon sent her unsolicited nude photos of himself to her and sexually harassed her on the job, which resulted in a payout of "roughly $1 million," according to sources.
A former manager who had previously worked for McMahon for 10 years alleged that McMahon initiated a sexual relationship with her and paid $1 million in hush money, sources with knowledge confirmed to the Journal.
McMahon voluntarily stepped down from his responsibilities amid the ongoing investigation into alleged misconduct and would be replaced by his daughter on an interim basis.
“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.
Since then, McMahon has made multiple in-character appearances on both Friday Night SmackDown and Monday Night Raw, though not directly addressing the allegations or investigation and appeared publicly at the UFC 276 event in Las Vegas shortly after the conclusion of WWE's Money in the Bank event in the same city.
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.