Stephanie McMahon announced her resignation as co-CEO of WWE on Tuesday evening, less than one week after her father, Vince McMahon, came out of retirement and returned as chairman of the board.
Stephanie McMahon was also chairwoman of the publicly traded company before her father’s return Friday. She shared co-CEO duties alongside Nick Khan, who is now the sole CEO of WWE. Her husband, WWE Hall of Famer Paul “Triple H” Levesque, remains firmly in place as the person driving WWE’s weekly TV storylines, a position he rose to after Vince McMahon, who had been in charge of creative since 1982, stepped away from the company in July.
“With Nick’s leadership and Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque as chief content officer, I am confident WWE is in the perfect place to continue to provide unparalleled creative content and drive maximum value for shareholders,” Stephanie McMahon wrote in a statement released on Twitter to her 3.2 million followers.
“WWE is in such a strong position that I have decided to return to my leave and take it one step further with my official resignation. I look forward to cheering on WWE from the other side of the business, where I started when I was a little kid, as a pure fan.”
Vince McMahon’s retirement in July came following allegations of sexual misconduct that included non-disclosure agreement payments. Though McMahon used personal funds for the NDA payments, he failed to record those expenses, which totaled $19.6 million.
In a statement announcing his return last Thursday, Vince McMahon said the move was made to “fully capitalize” on WWE’s upcoming media rights negotiations. The wrestling company’s network deals with USA and Fox for “Monday Night Raw” and “Friday Night SmackDown,” respectively, expire next year.
“I’d like to express my full support for Stephanie’s personal decision. I’ll forever be grateful that she offered to step in during my absence and I’m truly proud of the job she did co-leading WWE,” said Vince McMahon, who purchased the company from his father in 1982. “Stephanie has always been the ultimate ambassador for our company, and her decades of contributions have left an immeasurable impact on our brand.
Vince McMahon added of Khan, “Nick’s business acumen and mastery of the media industry have helped catapult our business to record revenue and profitability. Together, we look forward to working with the Board at this critical moment in time to review our strategic alternatives and maximize value for all WWE shareholders.”
Those strategic alternatives could lead to a sale of the company ahead of the media rights negotiations. In returning to the company, Vince McMahon also welcomed back former WWE co-presidents Michelle Wilson and George Barrios to the board.
Stephanie McMahon was a longtime staple of WWE as an on-screen authority figure, often alongside her father and her husband, Triple H. She took a leave of absence in May but said she would return after taking time to focus on her family.
Stephanie McMahon returned three weeks later to help steer the company through the controversy that surrounded her father. With his return, she has now decided to step away again.
“Stephanie McMahon is a terrific executive and an even better person,” said Khan, who negotiated WWE’s current media rights deals as an agent at CAA before he joined WWE as president. “It has been an honor to serve as co-CEO with her. She will only continue to succeed.
“I’m grateful to Vince McMahon and our Board of Directors for their ongoing support. I look forward to continuing to work closely with them and my WWE colleagues to ensure our company may thrive as the premiere powerhouse in sports entertainment for years to come.”
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