Vince McMahon officially announced his retirement on Friday afternoon, ending the career of the most prominent promoter in the history of professional wrestling. In addition to no longer serving in the role of CEO and chairman of WWE, McMahon is also out as head of the creative department and will no longer have any day-to-day roles, a source with knowledge of the situation tells CBS Sports.
The news comes after multiple reports from Wall Street Journal that McMahon, 76, allegedly offered hush money payments in the millions of dollars to WWE employees and contractors for decades for everything from consensual affairs to unwanted sexual advances. After the initial report, McMahon temporarily stepped down from his CEO and chairman positions while his daughter, Stephanie, took over. The WWE board began an investigation into the claims at that time.
“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,” McMahon said in a statement. “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.”
Despite stepping down from those roles, McMahon remained in charge of the creative decisions of the on-screen product. He also began to regularly appear on weekly programs Raw and SmackDown, not addressing the allegations but instead talking up the promotion and its bond with the fans.
Stephanie McMahon and Nick Khan will now operate as co-CEOs. The news also comes after it was announced that Paul Levesque, better known by his ring name Triple H, was fully taking on the role of executive vice president of talent relations after stepping away from executive roles because of a cardiac incident. Levesque and Stephanie McMahon were married in 2003.
McMahon has been WWE’s chairman since purchasing the company, then the WWF, from his father in 1982. He turned the promotion from one of many territories operating throughout the United States into the most powerful professional wrestling promotion in the world.
In addition to his roles as an executive, McMahon was often an in-ring talent, including a famous storyline as an evil boss to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s anti-hero during the boom period of WWE’s “Attitude Era” from the late 1990s to early 2000s.