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Vince McMahon is officially back on the WWE Board of Directors

Chris Buck for Variety

Well, that didn’t take long.

A WWE Schedule 13D filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange this morning (Jan. 6) officially executes the Vince McMahon comeback plan laid out in his press release yesterday.

You can read the filing in full here. Major takeaways include:

  • Effective immediately, Vince McMahon, Michelle Wilson & George Barrios are members of the WWE Board of Directors.
  • They’ll replace independent Directors (members of the Board who do not work for WWE in any other capacity) Alan Wexler, JoEllen Lyons Dillon & Jeffrey Speed.
  • Changes the company’s bylaws such that any media rights deals or the sale of the company can’t be executed without Vince’s sign-off.

Addendums to the filing include the correspondence between Vince’s team and the Board from Dec. 2022, in which he indicated his intent to return and was rebuffed. These back up the reporting and analysis from yesterday as well. McMahon argued his involvement is essential to maximizing shareholder value from pending or possible transactions on TV/streaming or an outright sale. The Board responded that his being an active member of the organization brought too much risk in the form of government investigation and legal liability via the hush money scandal that led to his resignation last summer.

One of The Board’s responses intimates there’s more to come from that scandal, as well:

This determination [to not offer McMahon his requested Board seat] is based on a variety of factors, including non-public information the Board has become aware of and the risks to the Company and its shareholders of placing a greater spotlight on these issues.

It’s not the first time we’ve heard there could be additional stories of Vince’s alleged sexual misconduct and/or improperly recorded payments to keep those allegations quiet. But as this pro wrestling version of Succession plays out, it’s striking to see it laid out in a legal document.

And regarding those oft-made comparison to the acclaimed HBO dramedy about battles for control of a giant, dysfunctional family-owned media & entertainment corporation? If you’re wondering who Vince ousted from the Board to make way for his return (and the returns of Barrios & Wilson, the Frank & Gerri to his Logan):

  • Speed is a former Disney executive and Six Flags CEO who’s been on the WWE Board since 2006. He seemed to have a prominent oversight role, serving as Chair of the Audit Committee, and a member of the Nominating/Governance Committee.
  • Wexler is a General Motors exec named to the WWE Board in 2018.
  • Dillon is one of two women named to the Board just months ago. At the time, WWE touted her legal background, global business experience, and mergers & acquisitions expertise.

Stay tuned.

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