WWE made its first big move in the wake of Wednesday’s bombshell report from the Wall Street Journal about a board investigation of Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon and head of talent relations John Laurinaitis.
This morning (June 17), the company & its board released a statement explaining that Vince will step back from his role leading the business side of the company while cooperating with the probe of his alleged misconduct regarding relationships with female employees and buying their silence about those relationships. His daughter Stephanie, whose announcement of her own leave of absence just a few weeks back has been a much-speculated about aspect of this story, will serve as interim Chairwoman & CEO.
The elder McMahon will remain at work on creative aspects of the company’s primary products like Raw & SmackDown. The press release makes no mention of Laurinaitis’ status.
Here it is:
WWE® & BOARD OF DIRECTORS JOINT RELEASE
STAMFORD, Conn., June 17, 2022 – WWE and its Board of Directors jointly released the following statement today:
Independent directors continue review of alleged executive misconduct
Stephanie McMahon named interim CEO and interim Chairwoman
Stamford, Conn. – WWE (NYSE: WWE) and the Board of Directors today announced that a Special Committee of the Board is conducting an investigation into alleged misconduct by its Chairman and CEO Vincent McMahon and John Laurinaitis, head of talent relations, and that, effective immediately, McMahon has voluntarily stepped back from his responsibilities as CEO and Chairman of the Board until the conclusion of the investigation. McMahon will retain his role and responsibilities related to WWE’s creative content during this period and remains committed to cooperating with the review underway.
The Special Committee has appointed Stephanie McMahon to serve as interim CEO and interim Chairwoman.
“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,” said Mr. McMahon.
“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. 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,” said Ms. McMahon.
WWE and its Board of Directors take all allegations of misconduct very seriously. The Independent Directors of the Board engaged independent legal counsel to assist them with an independent review. In addition, the Special Committee and WWE will work with an independent third-party to conduct a comprehensive review of the company’s compliance program, HR function and overall culture.
The Company and the Board do not expect to have further comment until the investigation is concluded.
More to come...