After decades of serving as the CEO of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), Vince McMahon is stepping down.
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The media organization’s Board of Directors announced on Friday, June 17, that McMahon, 76, had “voluntarily” decided to step down from his role as both Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the board as the company conducts an investigation into his behavior. (McMahon was accused of misconduct and paying a $3 million settlement to a former employee after an alleged affair, according to a Wall Street Journal report earlier this month.)
“I have pledged my complete cooperation to the investigation by the Special Committee, and I will do everything possible to support the investigation,” the North Carolina native said in a statement released by WWE. “I have also pledged to accept the findings and outcome of the investigation, whatever they are.”
In the former wrestler’s absence, daughter Stephanie McMahon has been tasked with serving as interim CEO and Chairwoman.
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“I love this company and am committed to working with the Independent Directors to strengthen our culture and our Company; it is extremely important to me that we have a safe and collaborative workplace,” Stephanie, 45, wrote in her own statement on Friday. “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.”
Vince has presided over the wrestling organization for many years after inheriting the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) from his father, Vincent McMahon, where he has transformed it into the pop culture phenom it has since become. (Vince notably changed the WWWF’s name to WWE in 2002.)
“I’m always concerned about what’s best for the audience — always,” Vince said of his career tenure during an appearance on the “Pat McAfee Show” in March. “What does the audience want? And if you have dead weight around you — if we have a situation whereby someone not cutting it, where maybe you have a situation for someone else, and then it’s like, ‘OK, it’s probably the best thing.’”
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The Alpha Entertainment founder has even enlisted many of his family members — including wife Linda McMahon, son Shane McMahon, daughter Stephanie and son-in-law Paul “Triple H” Levesque — to work beside him at WWE.
“If you built something, you should want it to grow and prosper, with or without a family member,” Vince told Pat McAfee earlier this year. “The business is best for everyone. You have to look at family members as well as employees. You have to do what’s right for the business.”
Stephanie, for her part, previously made headlines last month after she announced her own plans to take a sabbatical from her position as an executive within the organization.
“As of tomorrow, I am taking a leave of absence from the majority of my responsibilities at WWE,” the Connecticut native tweeted on May 19. “WWE is a lifelong legacy for me and I look forward to returning to the company that I love after taking this time to focus on my family.”
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