Vince McMahon is back at WWE: Expects to return to role as executive chairman
Vince McMahon is back in charge at WWE, installing himself and former company co-presidents Michelle Wilson and George Barrios to the board of directors.
“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 press release issued on his behalf 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. 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,” McMahon said.
This should get … interesting.
McMahon stepped down in July after reporting from the Wall Street Journal detailing millions of dollars in payments made under the table to settle sexual-harassment claims.
McMahon, a 1964 graduate of Waynesboro’s Fishburne Military School, maintained his status as controlling shareholder of the company, and according to the Thursday press release, he sent two separate letters to the board last month in which he expressed his desire to return to the company’s executive leadership.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the WWE board rebuffed the idea of a McMahon return, and that McMahon responded that he would refuse to assent to any sale or media-rights deal unless he could resume his old position as executive chairman.
His move to bring Wilson and Barrios back into the fold is curious considering that he fired the two from their WWE jobs in 2020, reportedly because he disagreed with their recommendation that the company take a more conservative approach with the then-nascent challenge being presented by upstart AEW.
That’s all water under the bridge now, at least from the perspective of the McMahon PR machine.
“Ms. Wilson and Mr. Barrios are highly qualified directors whose professional experience positions them well to help the company achieve the best possible outcomes in both initiatives,” McMahon said. “As former WWE co-presidents and board members, they are intimately familiar with industry dynamics and the organization’s operations and have helped guide the company through past successful media rights negotiations.
“I look forward to working closely again with Michelle and George – as well as the company’s remaining directors and management team, who have my full support and confidence. 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,” McMahon said.