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Vince McMahon, CEO of WWE, announces retirement amid misconduct investigation

The Wall Street Journal reported McMahon paid more than $12 million over the past 16 years to suppress allegations of sexual misconduct from former employees.
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.

STAMFORD, Conn. — Longtime chairman and CEO of WWE Vince McMahon announced Friday he will retire. 

In June, it was announced that McMahon had "voluntarily stepped back" from his corporate role amid an investigation by the World Wrestling Entertainment board of directors into alleged misconduct. 

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that McMahon paid more than $12 million over the past 16 years to suppress allegations of sexual misconduct from multiple former employees, a sum far greater than previously known. 

Four women — all formerly affiliated with WWE — signed agreements with McMahon that bar them from discussing their relationships with him, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the deals and documents it reviewed. McMahon has said he is cooperating with the company's investigation.

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

WWE did not share whether the internal investigation had been completed, or release any new details on Friday.

McMahon took over the organization from his father in the 1980s and transformed it into a national sensation, with massive events like WrestleMania and breakout stars like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and John Cena.

“As I approach 77 years old, I feel it’s time for me to retire as Chairman and CEO of WWE. Throughout the years, it’s been a privilege to help WWE bring you joy, inspire you, thrill you, surprise you, and always entertain you," McMahon said in a statement. "I would like to thank my family for mightily contributing to our success, and I would also like to thank all of our past and present Superstars and employees for their dedication and passion for our brand."

McMahon's daughter Stephanie McMahon was named interim CEO and chairwoman after her father stepped back in June. Following Vince McMahon's announcement, the company said Stephanie and WWE President Nick Khan will serve as co-CEOs moving forward. 

WWE also announced earlier Friday that Stephanie's husband, Paul "Triple H" Levesque, is returning to his executive role with the company. He left after suffering a heart attack last year.

Vince McMahon remains the majority shareholder in WWE and said he "will continue to support WWE in any way I can."

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