WWE has issued a new statement on Vince McMahon’s return to the Board of Directors, which includes the reinstatement of former WWE Co-Presidents George Barrios and Michelle Wilson to the Board.
As we’ve noted, McMahon first began telling people a few months back that he planned to make a comeback at WWE as he received bad advice from people close to him to step down back in July, and that he now believes the allegations and investigations would have blown over had he stayed. It was then reported on Thursday that McMahon has made the first steps to make his return to the company as he is looking to help lead rights fees negotiations and a sale, and that he was looking to bring on former WWE Co-Presidents Michelle Wilson and George Barrios to help, who were shockingly let go in early 2020. Shortly after that report broke, McMahon issued a press release to confirm his plans for a return, with a statement and more details. It was then confirmed this morning via WWE SEC filing that McMahon is back on the Board, and that Barrios and Wilson were reinstated, while JoEllen Lyons Dillon, Jeffrey R. Speed and Alan M. Wexler were removed from the Board to make room for McMahon, Barrios, and Wilson.
In an update, WWE issued a press release today with a joint statement from WWE Chairwoman & Co-CEO Stephanie McMahon, Co-CEO Nick Khan, and Chief Content Officer Triple H.
“Today, we announce that the founder of WWE, Vince McMahon, will be returning to the Board,” the trio said. “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.”
The press release also pointed to a quote McMahon said in his press release from Thursday – “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.”
WWE added in today’s press release, “In connection with the change in the composition of the Board of Directors and in cooperation with Vince McMahon as majority shareholder, the Company intends to undertake a review of its strategic alternatives with the goal being to maximize value for all WWE shareholders. There is no assurance that this process will result in a transaction.”
We noted earlier how Vince removed JoEllen Lyons Dillon, Jeffrey R. Speed and Alan M. Wexler from the Board today, to make way for his return, and the reinstatement of Barrios and Wilson. WWE noted in today’s statement that Ignace Lahoud and Man Jit Singh have resigned from the Board, effective today.
Below is WWE’s full press release, which includes the current Board members:
WWE Provides Update Regarding Composition of Its Board of Directors and Exploration of Strategic Alternatives01/06/2023STAMFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– WWE (NYSE: WWE) is providing the following update regarding the composition of its Board of Directors and the exploration of strategic alternatives.“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.”In connection with the change in the composition of the Board of Directors and in cooperation with Vince McMahon as majority shareholder, the Company intends to undertake a review of its strategic alternatives with the goal being to maximize value for all WWE shareholders. There is no assurance that this process will result in a transaction.Vince McMahon, in his capacity as controlling shareholder of the Company, has removed JoEllen Lyons Dillon, Jeffrey R. Speed and Alan M. Wexler from the Board. Vince McMahon, George Barrios and Michelle Wilson have been added to the Board to fill the resulting vacancies.The Board currently consists of:* Vince McMahon* Stephanie McMahon* Nick Khan* Paul Levesque* Steve Koonin* Michelle McKenna* Steve Pamon* George Barrios* Michelle WilsonIgnace Lahoud and Man Jit Singh have resigned from the Board, effective today.
It was reported earlier that WWE has an “all hands on deck” meeting planned for later this afternoon. We hope to have more information after that meeting.
As we’ve noted, it was initially revealed on Wednesday, June 15 that WWE’s Board of Directors had been investigating then-Chairman & CEO Vince over the “secret $3 million settlement” he made to a former paralegal that was hired in 2019. Then-Talent Relations head Laurinaitis was also being investigated for his involvement, and it was revealed that the Board had been looking into other instances with former female employees as well. It was then announced on Friday, June 17 that Stephanie McMahon returned from her leave of absence to act as the Interim CEO & Interim Chairwoman after Vince voluntarily stepped away from his Chairman & CEO corporate duties, while still continuing his creative responsibilities, at least at that time. It was then revealed on Monday, June 20 that Bruce Prichard, WWE’s Senior Vice President and RAW/SmackDown Executive Producer, was working as the Interim Senior Vice President of Talent Relations, filling in for Laurinaitis during the investigation. It was then revealed on Friday, July 8, that McMahon agreed to pay more than $12 million in “hush money” to four women, including a former wrestler, as another round of allegations were made public. Prichard is no longer working the interim role as WWE announced on July 22 that Triple H is the new WWE Executive Vice President of Talent Relations. Vince’s retirement was announced hours after Triple H’s new role was announced, and Vince was the first to confirm that Stephanie is the new Chairwoman & Co-CEO, along with Co-CEO Nick Khan. Laurinaitis was also confirmed to be gone from the company. WWE announced on July 25 that Triple H is also the new head of creative, and his title was upgraded to WWE Chief Content Officer. There have also been additional promotions and corporate changes since then. WWE also announced on July 25 that previous financial statements were being revised due to “certain unrecorded expenses” by Vince, in the amount of $14.6 million, which are the payouts to various women. WWE noted then that Vince was personally re-paying the amount. It was also revealed on July 25 that the federal government is investigating the McMahon payouts. It was then revealed on August 9 that another $5 million in payments was made by McMahon, and he will be paying that money back to the company like the previous payments. You can find full details at the links below, including statements from Vince and Stephanie, full details on the anonymous e-mails that led to the investigations, the “hush money” pacts, and more, along with WWE comments on how the scandal hurt the company, and comments on the end of the Special Committee investigation, and details on the recent steps McMahon has taken to return to the company.