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WWE Investigation



WWE’s Vince McMahon agrees to pay $7.4 million in costs related to sexual misconduct investigation

Retirement amid allegations

Vince McMahon, 77, who made a dramatic return in January to WWE’s board of directors, announced last July his retirement as chief executive officer in the wake of articles published by The Wall Street Journal that revealed the allegations against him. The Journal reported that he agreed to pay four women a total of more than $12 million over the past 16 years to keep secret allegations of sexual misconduct and infidelity, citing unnamed people familiar with those agreements and related documents.

Investigation completed

Last November, the company announced that the investigation had been completed and that the committee had been disbanded. It also said that the company’s management was working with the board to implement the committee’s recommendations related to the investigation. The company has not publicly disclosed the recommendations.

Additional costs incurred

“Going forward, we expect to incur additional costs related to the investigation,” Frank Riddick III, WWE’s president and chief administrative officer, said during a Feb. 2 earnings call. “Mr. McMahon has agreed to pay the reasonable costs of the investigation not covered by insurance.”

Paying for additional claims

The fourth-quarter results included $7.4 million in expenses, “reflecting payments that Mr. McMahon has agreed to make related to additional claims that have been recently settled,” Riddick added. “These payments were or will be paid by Mr. McMahon personally.”

Leading review of alternatives

McMahon returned to WWE in large part to lead a review of “strategic alternatives” that could include a sale of the company. He has also argued that his leadership was essential as WWE prepares for negotiations for media rights that will include its flagship shows, “Raw” and “SmackDown.”

Leveraging shareholder status

To enable his return, McMahon leveraged his status as the company’s controlling shareholder to remove three board members and bring in the company’s former co-presidents to replace two of them. Two other board members resigned because they opposed McMahon’s comeback.

Stephanie McMahon resigns

A few days after McMahon announced his return, his daughter, Stephanie McMahon, resigned as co-CEO and from the board. As a longtime executive who had served as co-CEO and chairwoman since her father’s retirement, she said she was confident in the company’s future.




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