Vince McMahon announces WWE retirement amid sexual misconduct investigation

By News Staff and The Associated Press

Longtime World Wrestling Entertainment boss Vince McMahon has announced his retirement.

In a short tweet, the 77-year-old said it was “time for me to retire” while thanking the “WWE Universe.”

“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 released by WWE. “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.”

The news comes in the wake of published reports McMahon agreed to pay more than $12 million over the past 16 years to suppress allegations of sexual misconduct and infidelity.

Four women – all formerly affiliated with WWE – signed agreements with McMahon that bar them from discussing their relationships with him, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month, citing people familiar with the deals and documents it reviewed.

McMahon agreed to step down as CEO and chairman of WWE in mid-June during an an investigation into the alleged misconduct but continued to oversee WWE’s creative content while the company investigated the allegations.

McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie – who has been acting as interim CEO – and current WWE president Nick Khan will take over as co-CEOs, according to the company.

It was also announced Friday that McMahon’s son-in-law and Stephanie’s husband Paul “Triple H” Levesque was returning to the company as head of talent relations.

McMahon has been the leader and most recognizable face at WWE for decades. When he purchased what was then the World Wrestling Federation, from his father in 1982, wrestling matches took place at small venues and appeared on local cable channels.

WWE matches are now held in professional sports stadiums and the organization has a sizeable overseas following.

The organization underwent a seismic transformation under McMahon with events like WrestleMania, a premium live production that draws millions of fervent viewers.

Revenue last year exceeded $1 billion for the first time and the company has television deals with Fox and NBCUniversal.

WWE stars have become crossover sensations, including Hulk Hogan, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and John Cena.

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