A lot of people surmised this based on the wording of WWE’s press release this morning (June 17) about Stephanie McMahon returning from hiatus to become interim CEO & Chairwoman while her father is investigated for misconduct. The fact Vince McMahon will continue to do the job most wrestling fans associate him with — booking and writing Raw and SmackDown — after voluntarily stepping back from those other roles felt like a tell.
CNBC has a source that said the quiet part out loud (emphasis mine):
The CEO role is staying in the family. McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie McMahon, will take over as interim chairwoman and CEO. Stephanie McMahon said in May that she was pulling back from the bulk of her duties as a WWE executive to spend more time with her family. The appointment is a signal that the power structure wouldn’t change even as Vince McMahon steps back, according to the person familiar with the matter.
Since announcing she was taking a break from her Chief Brand Officer position to spend more time with her family (something the company never put out a formal statement about, by the way) Stephanie’s status has been much speculated on. That was especially true when sources within the company leaked that she’d been pushed out for poor job performance. While that was going on, the company moved swiftly to hire a prominent name to handle Steph’s old responsibilities.
It’s definitely sent mixed signals about where she stands in this real-life episode of Succession, and how Wall Street would react to her appointment (stock is down slightly today as of this writing). If the CNBC report is accurate, WWE’s sending a signal to investors and stakeholders that VKM is still in charge.