“As I approach 77 years old, I feel it’s time for me to retire as Chairman and CEO of WWE,” McMahon said in a statement released by the sports entertainment company. “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’s retirement comes after it was announced in June that he would be stepping back from his roles as chairman and CEO of WWE amid an ongoing investigation into allegations that he paid out millions of dollars to multiple women to keep quiet about alleged affairs and misconduct. The Wall Street Journal reported that McMahon ultimately paid a total of $12 million as part of the agreements.
McMahon went on to say in his statement that his daughter Stephanie and WWE president Nick Khan would serve as co-CEOs upon his departure, with Stephanie also serving as chairwoman. Since taking the company public, McMahon remains WWE’s biggest shareholder.
“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. “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 will no doubt send shockwaves through the world of professional wrestling and media at large. McMahon is a third generation promoter, having taken over WWE (then WWF) from his father, Vince McMahon Sr, in the 1980s. He took professional wrestling to new heights, breaking from the traditional territory model of years past and taking his company national and eventually global. He also became known for his appearances onscreen as the villainous Mr. McMahon character, who famously feuded with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin during WWE’s so-called Attitude Era.