Why Vince McMahon Wants To Return To WWE As Executive Chairman

The announcement has boosted WWE's stock


January 5

Vince McMahon has announced his plan to return to WWE as chief executive amid a sexual harassment scandal.

McMahon is the majority owner of WWE and his Class-B stock grants him majority voting power. The plan also is to bring in former company presidents Michelle Wilson and George Barrios to the board, which would require three members to leave.

The plan is to set up the company for a sale. McMahon “has taken necessary actions to position the company to capitalize on a unique opportunity to maximize long-term value for all WWE shareholders,” the former president and CEO said in a press release Thursday.

McMahon resigned from his position in July 2021 due to a hush-money scandal. The 77-year-old reportedly felt this was a mistake and had been seeking a return to the company. The Wall Street Journal also reported McMahon faced legal demands from two women who have accused him of sexual assault.

His daughter, Stephanie, and Nick Khan assumed the positions of co-CEO, and his son-in-law Paul Levesque, aka Triple H, took on the position of the chief content officer. The company’s stock continued to increase after McMahon announced his resignation.

WWE has plans to renegotiate its media rights deals with NBC Universal and FOX, and Vince McMahon believes a sale is in the best interest of shareholders.

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“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. “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. My return will allow WWE, as well as any transaction counterparties, to engage in these processes knowing they will have the support of the controlling shareholder.”

The press release stated McMahon had sent two letters to the board of directors expressing the need for his return as executive chairman. The last letter sent last Saturday stated Thursday’s steps “are necessary to maximize value for all WWE shareholders”

The WSJ reported Thursday the board of directors was willing to work with McMahon to review the process for a rights sale but not to bring him back to the company.

Following McMahon’s statement, WWE’s stock rose 12% in after-market trading.

Thumbnail photo via Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports Images
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