© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Vince McMahon, the chairman of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. poses after his Hollywood Walk of Fame star was unveiled during a ceremony in Hollywood, California March 14, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser
(Reuters) -WWE Inc said on Friday it launched an investigation into alleged misconduct by longtime Chief Executive Vince McMahon and appointed his daughter Stephanie as interim head.
McMahon has voluntarily stepped back from his responsibilities as CEO and chairman until the review is over, the company said.
The board is investigating a $3 million settlement that McMahon agreed to pay to a departing employee with whom he allegedly had an affair, the Wall Street Journal had reported https://on.wsj.com/3xWYUfK on Wednesday.
WWE said on Friday the board had engaged an external legal counsel to assist with an independent review, adding it will also conduct a comprehensive review of the company’s compliance program, HR function and overall culture.
The company, which produces and distributes weekly wrestling shows “Raw” and “Smackdown”, said McMahon, 76, will retain his creative content responsibilities during this period.
The board’s investigation, which began in April, has unearthed other, older nondisclosure agreements involving claims by former female WWE employees of misconduct by McMahon and the head of talent relations, John Laurinaitis, according to the WSJ report.
The probe by the board includes Laurinaitis, the company said on Friday.
Stephanie McMahon, who has been often touted as her father’s successor, took a leave of absence last month to focus on her family.