WWE Chairman and former CEO Vince McMahon announced his retirement Friday.
“At 77, time for me to retire,” he tweeted Friday afternoon. “Thank you, WWE Universe. Then. Now. Forever. Together.”
“Throughout the years, it’s been a privilege to help WWE bring you joy, inspire you, thrill you, surprise you, and always entertain you,” McMahon penned in an official press release.
“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.”
McMahon announced that his daughter, Stephanie McMahon, and WWE president Nick Khan, will serve as co-CEOs.
Stephanie will also serve as chairwoman. She stepped into those roles as the interim when McMahon stepped down amid the WWE’s investigation into misconduct claims against him.
“Our global audience can take comfort in knowing WWE will continue to entertain you with the same fervor, dedication, and passion as always,” McMahon continued to say. “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.”
The announcement comes over a month after McMahon stepped down from his CEO duties amid an investigation into allegations that McMahon agreed to pay $3 million in hush money to a former employee with whom he had an affair, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing documentation and sources “familiar with the board inquiry.”
McMahon used his own money, which was to be paid to the employee in increments over a five-year period, according to the report.
During that time, McMahon retained “his role and responsibilities related to WWE’s creative content,” according to a press release.
The investigation also included John Laurinaitis, WWE’s head of talent relations.
The WWE’s board first learned of these allegations in late March, via an anonymous series of emails sent by a friend of the former employee, the Journal reported. The email also alleged that McMahon “gave” the woman to Laurinaitis “like a toy,” according to the outlet.
A subsequent investigation allegedly unearthed multiple nondisclosure agreements from former employees who accused McMahon and Laurinaitis of misconduct, sources told the Journal.
McMahon has been in the wrestling business for decades, and built the powerhouse that’s known as World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. in the ’80s. The brand produced major talents like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertake, and John Cena.