NEW YORK (AP) — World Wrestling Entertainment boss Vince McMahon announced Friday that he is retiring amid an investigation into alleged misconduct involving the flamboyant showman who turned a small wrestling company into a global entertainment business. .
In a brief statement from WWE, McMahon said that he is retiring as president and CEO of the company. He noted that he remains its majority shareholder.
McMahon temporarily stepped down as WWE CEO and Chairman in mid-June during an investigation into alleged misconduct. Earlier this month, reported the Wall Street Journal McMahon has agreed to pay more than $12 million over the past 16 years to suppress allegations of sexual misconduct and infidelity.
“At 77, time to retire. Thank you, WWE Universe. After. Now. Always. Together. #WWE #grateful,” he wrote on Twitter on Friday.
There was no mention of the investigation in the statement from the Stamford, Connecticut-based company. McMahon said his daughter Stephanie, who was named interim CEO and president last month, will serve as president and share CEO duties with Nick Khan, who joined the company in 2020.
“Our global audience can rest easy knowing that WWE will continue to entertain them with the same fervor, dedication and passion as always,” he wrote in the statement, thanking generations of WWE fans around the world.
McMahon first stepped away from top jobs last month after the Journal reported at the time that she had agreed to pay $3 million to a former paralegal who she said sexually harassed her on the job. He was supposed to continue to oversee WWE’s creative content during the companies’ investigation. But then the newspaper reported that McMahon had agreed to pay the significantly higher sum of $12 million.
Four women, all formerly affiliated with WWE, have signed agreements with McMahon that prohibit them from discussing their relationships with him, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the agreements and documents it reviewed. McMahon has said that he is cooperating with the company’s investigation.
McMahon has been WWE’s most recognizable leader and face for decades. When he bought what was then the World Wrestling Federation from his father in 1982, wrestling matches were held in small venues and appeared on local cable channels.
The organization underwent a seismic transformation under McMahon with events like WrestleMania, a premier live production drawing millions of adoring viewers.
Revenue last year topped $1 billion for the first time, and the company has television deals with Fox and NBCUniversal. Last month it announced a multi-year expansion of its original programming partnership with A&E.
WWE stars have become crossover sensations, including Hulk Hogan, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and John Cena.