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Vince McMahon steps aside as WWE CEO amid investigation into misconduct claims

The Wall Street Journal reported WWE's board uncovered nondisclosure agreements involving claims by ex-WWE employees of misconduct by McMahon and another exec.

WASHINGTON — Vince McMahon has "voluntarily stepped back" as WWE CEO and chairman as the board of directors investigates allegations involving alleged misconduct, the company announced Friday

The investigation involves claims that McMahon paid $3 million to a former female employee with whom he allegedly had an affair, the Wall Street Journal revealed on Wednesday

According to the Wall Street Journal, the board's investigation also uncovered older nondisclosure agreements that involved claims by former WWE employees of misconduct by McMahon and John Laurinaitis, the head of talent relations at WWE. 

The board said Friday it has brought in independent legal counsel to assist with an independent review of the misconduct allegations. 

The company stated that while McMahon is stepping back as CEO, he "will retain his role and responsibilities related to WWE’s creative content during this period." 

Stephanie McMahon, Vince McMahon's daughter, will serve as interim CEO and interim chairwoman while the investigation is underway, the company said. This comes just one month after Stephanie McMahon, who served as WWE's Chief Brand Officer, left the company to take time to focus on her family. She is married to WWE legend Triple H, who recently retired from in-ring competition after suffering "heart failure" last year. 

In a statement, Vince McMahon said, “I have pledged my complete cooperation to the investigation by the Special Committee, and I will do everything possible to support the investigation. I have also pledged to accept the findings and outcome of the investigation, whatever they are." 

Credit: AP
FILE - In this Oct. 30, 2010 file photo, WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon speaks to an audience during a WWE fan appreciation event in Hartford, Conn.

WWE is widely viewed as the world's most famous professional wrestling brand, with three weekly shows that air on primetime TV and has had touring shows for decades. 

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