Report: Vince McMahon's WWE Retirement 'Hastened' by Investigations into Payments

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 25, 2022

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 08:  WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon speaks at a news conference announcing the WWE Network at the 2014 International CES at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas on January 8, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The network will launch on February 24, 2014 as the first-ever 24/7 streaming network, offering both scheduled programs and video on demand. The USD 9.99 per month subscription will include access to all 12 live WWE pay-per-view events each year. CES, the world's largest annual consumer technology trade show, runs through January 10 and is expected to feature 3,200 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to about 150,000 attendees.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Ongoing investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission and federal authorities "hastened" Vince McMahon's retirement as chief executive of WWE, according to the Wall Street Journal's Ted Mann and Joe Palazzolo.

Mann and Palazzolo reported WWE acknowledged in a securities filing McMahon agreed to pay out $14.6 million between 2006 and 2022 from his personal account as "hush money."

"The payments, first revealed by the Wall Street Journal, should have been recorded in the company's financial statements, WWE's filing said," per the report. "The company said it expects to revise previous financial statements going back to 2019 to reflect the payments."

McMahon unexpectedly announced Friday he was retiring:

Vince McMahon @VinceMcMahon

At 77, time for me to retire. <br>Thank you, WWE Universe. <br>Then. Now. Forever. Together. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WWE?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WWE</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/thankful?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#thankful</a>

In a statement through WWE, the 76-year-old clarified he was stepping down as the company's chairman and CEO. WWE announced Monday that McMahon's daughter, Stephanie, and Nick Khan will share the CEO role moving forward. Stephanie will also serve as chairwoman of the board.

This comes after multiple reports from the Wall Street Journal detailing payments McMahon made amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

Palazzolo and Mann first reported June 15 that McMahon paid $3 million to a now-former WWE employee with whom he allegedly had an affair. The WWE board became aware of the nondisclosure agreement because of anonymous emails from someone who claimed to be a friend of the WWE employee.

Palazzolo, Mann and colleague Joe Flint filed a follow-up story July 8 regarding additional allegations by three more women who received financial payouts.

One woman was a former wrestler who said McMahon "coerced her into giving him oral sex and then demoted her." Another woman said McMahon sent her unsolicited nude photos and sexually harassed her.