Will Vince McMahon Step Down If a WWE Sale Happens?
Vince McMahon returned to the WWE last month as its Executive Chairman for the Board of Directors as WWE looks for a sale. As learned through official messages between McMahon and the Board, McMahon first approached the Board about a return in late 2022 and was met with unanimous rejection. He then claimed he would use the voting power on the Board via his Class B stock to shut down any potential sale or future media rights deal if his demands were not met, as he believed he needed to be spearheading the search for the right company to buy the wrestling promotion.
During the quarterly investors' conference call on Thursday, WWE CEO Nick Khan was asked if McMahon would be willing to remove himself from the company after a sale. The caller pointed out that certain companies might be hesitant to make a purchase if McMahon insisted on remaining in power, but Khan claimed that wouldn't be an issue.
"Yes (he'll step down). Without question. He's declared it to the board, he's declared it to us in management. It's all about shareholder value. Obviously, he is a shareholder, so it's not about what role he'll have, it's about maximizing that value opportunity."
Khan appeared on The Bill Simmons Podcast last month and discussed the various sexual misconduct allegations directed at McMahon. The WWE CEO believed no more allegations would pop up.
"It feels like whatever happened, happened, and it's out there and people know. I've always found him to be a very honest broker with this stuff. Even when the process started last summer, there was nothing that he hid, nothing that he covered up. He was very honest about it, I appreciated that, and I think a lot of other folks did too," Khan said.
The WWE Board's official response to McMahon's initial inquiry about returning to the company indicated it had discovered something pertaining to McMahon that had not been made public. No new accusations have come to light since then, though it was recently reported that McMahon settled a lawsuit with former WWF referee Rita Chatterton.
"It is also our unanimous view that your return to the Company at this time, while government investigation into your conduct by the U.S. Attorney's Office and SEC are still pending, would not be prudent from a shareholder value perspective. The determination is based on a variety of factors, including non-public information that the Board has become aware of and the risks to the Company and its shareholders of placing a greater spotlight of these issues," the statement read.