WWE CEO Vince McMahon stepping back from role during misconduct investigation

Scooby Axson
USA TODAY

World Wrestling Entertainment CEO and chairman Vince McMahon has stepped back from his role amid an investigation into whether he paid money to a former employee to keep an affair quiet, the company announced.

McMahon's daughter, Stephanie, will serve in the role in an interim basis.

"Special Committee of the Board is conducting an investigation into alleged misconduct by its Chairman and CEO Vincent McMahon and John Laurinaitis, head of talent relations, and that, effective immediately, McMahon has voluntarily stepped back from his responsibilities as CEO and Chairman of the Board until the conclusion of the investigation," WWE said in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the 76-year-old McMahon paid $3 million to the ex-employee. The report also states that money was paid to prevent the woman from speaking about the relationship.

Vince McMahon is stepped down from his role as CEO and chairman of World Wrestling Entertainment.

A probe into the matter also discovered that McMahon and Laurinaitis had been accused of misconduct in previous years and used nondisclosure agreements to keep the matters quiet.

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

McMahon has been front and center of the WWE since he bought the company in 1982 from his father. According to Forbes, McMahon is worth $2.1 billion and the WWE brings in nearly $1 billion in revenue each year. 

He appeared on Friday night's episode of "WWE SmackDown," leading off the show with a brief address to the crowd – though he made no mention of the alleged misconduct or investigation.