Vince McMahon is back as a member of WWE’s Board of Directors.
Vince McMahon Returns To WWE
Six months after retiring amidst an ongoing sexual assault investigation, which is still ongoing, McMahon along with Michelle Wilson and George Barrios is back on the Board of Directors for WWE as three members of the current board have resigned. In addition, the SEC filing states that two other members stepped down once the Board reinstated McMahon on Friday, January 6th.
According to a Wall Street Journal Report that came out on Thursday McMahon wanted to come back as the Executive Chairman of WWE as early as December 2022. The reason McMahon wanted to come back to the company was to pursue a sale and be involved in the company’s upcoming media rights deals. He felt it was “Best for Business” with him running the show to maximize the lucrative deal for the company.
One of the reasons for McMahon stepped away and was investigated by the Board of Directors and the government was because of multiple “hush fund” payouts to women who alleged sexual misconduct. The “hush fund” was company money not his own money and was never reported in the company’s financial statements. McMahon also thought he got bad advice and felt the investigation would have just gone away if he stayed.
To no one’s surprise, WWE announced via a press release that Vince McMahon was back with the company.
“Today, we announce that the founder of WWE, Vince McMahon, will be returning to the Board,” said Chairwoman & Co-CEO Stephanie McMahon, Co-CEO Nick Khan and Chief Content Officer Paul Levesque. “We also welcome back Michelle Wilson and George Barrios to our Board of Directors. Together, we look forward to exploring all strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value.”
As Vince McMahon stated yesterday, “WWE has an exceptional management team in place, and I do not intend for my return to have any impact on their roles, duties, or responsibilities.”
Based on the information from the filing, Vince McMahon expects to assume the role of Executive of the Board. Currently, Nick Khan and Stephanie McMahon are Co-CEO and Chairmen of the Board. McMahon outlined his rationale for coming to this decision via press release and went through the timeline of communication with the Board to put this into motion:
“Based on correspondence from the Board, dated December 27, 2022, and following conversations with representatives of the Issuer both before and after the Reporting Person’s most recent letter on December 31, 2022, the Reporting Person determined, consistent with his rights as controlling stockholder, that the actions he has taken are necessary to maximize value for all of the Issuer’s stockholders.”
“”These actions will enable unified decision making through the Issuer’s upcoming media rights negotiations and a parallel full review of the Issuer’s strategic alternatives, which the Reporting Person believes is the right course of action and in the best interests of the Issuer and the Issuer’s stockholders in the midst of the current dynamics in the media and entertainment industry.”
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In the filing linked above it was revealed that JoEllen Lyons Dillon, Jeffrey R. Speed and Alan M. Wexler were removed as a result of the changes.
In the WWE press release above, they confirmed their current Board and noted two additional members (Ignace Lahoud and Man Jit Singh) have resigned effective Friday. Singh was part of the investigative team into McMahon’s “hush fund.”
Fallout And What Led To Vince Coming Back
Vince McMahon used the ultimate power play. However, if you read the correspondence between the Board and McMahon during the December email chain, the Board of Directors for WWE does not want him as Executive Chairman while there is a government investigation going on.
Reposting WWE’s Board’s December 27 email to Vince. pic.twitter.com/dm41qFknO3
— Brandon Thurston (@BrandonThurston) January 6, 2023
McMahon stated that he will not approve any sale or media rights deal without having that title. It is a storyline from McMahon’s own world playing out in real life. And now that he is back on the Board of Directors he changed the bylaws. That means no sale can be approved without his approval or say.
WWE’s stock price jumped this morning and trading was temporarily halted before it resumed after a short delay.
There is a meeting with WWE staff and personnel to be held this afternoon. There is no word if Vince McMahon will be back as head of creative a role Triple H currently holds.
Stay tuned for more on this ongoing story.
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