“Today, we announce that the founder of WWE, Vince McMahon, will be returning to the Board,” the wrestling company’s leadership said in a press release, adding that former board members Michelle Wilson and George Barrios would be returning as well.
McMahon, who had served as chairman and CEO of WWE for four decades, was involved in multiple sexual assault allegations. In June, The Wall Street Journal reported WWE was investigating McMahon for a $3 million settlement paid to a former employee whom he allegedly had an affair with. The outlet later reported that McMahon had paid $12 million in “hush” money to four women over the past 16 years in an attempt to silence claims of sexual assault.
McMahon “voluntarily stepped back” from his position in June as the company continued to probe the allegations.
“I have pledged my complete cooperation to the investigation by the Special Committee, and I will do everything possible to support the investigation. I have also pledged to accept the findings and outcome of the investigation, whatever they are,” McMahon said in a statement in June.
According to The Wall Street Journal, WWE had previously rejected reinstating McMahon to the board. But the change of heart may be connected to business sales.
The company’s shares have seen an increase of 75% over the last year, and its stocks increased by 20% following the announcement of McMahon’s return.
“WWE is entering a critical juncture in its history with the upcoming media rights negotiations coinciding with increased industry-wide demand for quality content and live events and with more companies seeking to own the intellectual property on their platforms,” McMahon said in a statement on Thursday.
“The only way for WWE to fully capitalize on this opportunity is for me to return as Executive Chairman and support the management team in the negotiations for our media rights and to combine that with a review of strategic alternatives,” he continued.
The announcement of McMahon’s return also came just one day after the former exec announced his intention to return to — and possibly sell — the company.
In its statement Friday announcing changes to the board, WWE stated its intent to explore strategic alternatives that could maximize shareholder value, but confirmed that “there is no assurance that this process will result in a transaction.”