For decades it felt as if there was no chance in hell this day would ever come.
Vince McMahon has retired as chairman and CEO from WWE, effective immediately, he announced on Saturday morning AEST, the New York Post reports.
McMahon’s announcement comes weeks after news emerged that WWE’s board was investigating settlements that McMahon reached with former female WWE employees with whom he had sexual relationships with.
“As I approach 77 years old, I feel it’s time for me to retire as Chairman and CEO of WWE. Throughout the years, it’s been a privilege to help WWE bring you joy, inspire you, thrill you, surprise you, and always entertain you. 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 said in a statement.
“Our global audience can take comfort in knowing WWE will continue to entertain you with the same fervor, dedication, and passion as always. 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.”
McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie McMahon, had taken over as interim CEO as her father had stepped away from the role during the board’s investigation.
Vince McMahon had remained in charge of WWE’s creative, and it is not immediately clear what will happen in that direction.
Earlier on Friday, WWE had announced that Stephanie McMahon’s husband, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, would resume duties as EVP of Talent Relations.
In many ways, it is impossible to imagine WWE without Vince McMahon at the helm. He has run the company since he purchased it from his father in 1982, and micromanaged every aspect of the business from the storytelling to the corporate structure. He was also an on-air talent, both as a broadcaster and as an authority figure, “Mr. McMahon”, whom it was impossible to distinguish where the real man ended and acting began.
In June, The Wall Street Journal first reported that WWE’s board was investigating McMahon after they received an anonymous tip via email that he had paid an AU$4.3 million hush money settlement to a former employee with whom he had an affair.
The email said that he had hired the woman as a paralegal to a $144,000 salary, and doubled it after the affair began. Then, the email said, McMahon “gave her like a toy” to longtime WWE executive John Laurinaitis.
The Wall Street Journal later reported that it had been discovered that McMahon had paid a total of $17 million, over the course of at least 16 years, to four different women with whom he had sexual relationships. One of the women, a former wrestler, had alleged in 2018 that years back McMahon had coerced her into oral sex. McMahon had been accused of demoting the wrestler when she ended the relationship, and not renewing her contract when it came up.
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission