It’s a story with enough twists and turns to be on WWE television. Stephanie McMahon on Tuesday resigned from her position as co-CEO of WWE, the pro-wrestling megacorporation her father built. McMahon’s resignation was announced on Twitter and followed Vince McMahon’s return to the company. Vince McMahon himself resigned in July amid sexual misconduct allegations but on Tuesday was named executive chairman of WWE’s board.
“About 8 months ago, I took a leave of absence and within a few weeks, unexpectedly had the opportunity of a lifetime. I had the privilege to return as the Co-CEO and Chairwoman of the Board of WWE,” Stephanie McMahon wrote. “I have decided to return to my leave and take it one step further with my official resignation.”
Stephanie McMahon has been an on-and-off character on WWE TV since the late ’90s, but her most important positions in the company have been behind the scenes. McMahon has at various points served as the vice president of creative, the chief brand officer and, following her father’s departure, co-CEO alongside Nick Khan.
Paul “Triple H” Levesque, Stephanie McMahon’s husband, will retain his role as head of WWE creative.
The initial fall of Vince McMahon began in June, when the Wall Street Journal reported that WWE’s board was investigating a $3 million settlement he’d allegedly agreed to pay an employee with whom he’d purportedly had an affair. The Journal followed with a report in July that McMahon had allegedly paid more than $12 million to four different women associated with the WWE to suppress accusations of sexual misconduct and infidelity.
In July, McMahon abruptly announced his decision to retire. “At 77, time for me to retire. Thank you, WWE Universe,” he wrote on Twitter.
Despite relinquishing all official duties, Vince McMahon remained WWE’s majority stockholder. McMahon last week used the attendant voting power to reinstate two former executives, George Barrios and Michelle Wilson, to the board and elect himself as executive chairman.
McMahon returned with the sole intention of overseeing a sale of WWE, according to the Journal. The company makes most of its money through TV broadcasting rights for its Raw and SmackDown shows, currently licensed by NBC and Fox, respectively. Those deals are due to expire in 2024. With streaming services eager to own content rather than license it — NBC signed a $1 billion deal to stream WWE content for five years — McMahon reportedly deems now the time to enter sales negotiations. He reportedly told the board that, as majority owner of company stock, he wouldn’t support any deal or sale of media rights unless he was directly involved as executive chairman.