Vince McMahon steps aside as WWE CEO during probe into secret $3m payment to alleged lover

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World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) said Chief Executive Officer Vince McMahon will step back from his duties while the board investigates allegations of misconduct by him and another executive.

McMahon, who is also chairman, will retain his responsibilities related to the company’s creative content during the period, according to a statement Friday. Stephanie McMahon was appointed by a special board committee to serve as interim CEO and interim chairwoman.

"I have pledged my complete cooperation to the investigation by the special committee, and I will do everything possible to support the investigation," Vince McMahon said in the statement. "I have also pledged to accept the findings and outcome of the investigation, whatever they are."

The move comes several days after a Wall Street Journal report, citing people familiar with the matter, described a secret $3 million payment McMahon made to a female former employee with whom he allegedly had an affair, as well as non-disclosure agreements with other employees. The investigation is also looking into similar arrangements with John Laurinaitis, a former wrestler who manages talent relations for WWE.

WWE’s board said Friday that it has engaged independent legal counsel to assist in the investigation and will work with a third-party to conduct a review of the company’s compliance program, human-resources function and overall culture.

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