Former WWE CEO Vince McMahon, who remains the wrestling company’s controlling shareholder, plans to return to the company to “fully capitalize” on upcoming media rights negotiations, he announced Thursday.
McMahon, 77, retired the following summer Allegations of sexual misconduct That includes non-disclosure agreement payments. Although McMahon used personal funds to pay for the NDA, he failed to record those expenses, which totaled $19.6 million.
After McMahon left, his daughter Stephanie McMahon and Nick Khan, a longtime agent at CAA, took over the role of co-CEOs. In his announcement, Vince McMahon said he is asking to be reinstated as executive chairman of the publicly traded company’s board, with former WWE co-president Michelle Wilson and Jorge Barrios in the chair.
The move requires three existing members to vacate their board seats. The board previously rejected an attempt by McMahon to return to the company, but he retains most of the voting power.
“The WWE is entering an important juncture in its history with upcoming media rights negotiations as well as industry-wide demand for quality content and live events increasing and more companies looking to own intellectual property on their platforms,” said McMahon.
He added: “My return will allow WWE, as well as any potential counterparty, to engage in these processes knowing they will have the support of their controlling shareholder.”
WWE’s rights deal with Fox and USA expires next year; Negotiations are expected to begin after 2023. WWE posts its first billion-dollar revenue year in 2022. McMahon bought the company from his father in 1982 and built the then WWF into the preeminent wrestling company in the world.
When McMahon stepped down, his son-in-law, WWE Hall of Famer Paul “Triple H” Levesque, put him in charge of creative direction for the company’s TV storylines.
“WWE has an exceptional management team, and I don’t want to affect their roles, responsibilities or responsibilities,” McMahon said.
Before McMahon gave the board written consent to his plan, he sent two letters in late December urging his return, according to the press release.