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Vince McMahon announces retirement from WWE amid misconduct investigation

The resignation comes one month after the pro wrestling magnate agreed to take a break from his role as CEO of WWE as the company investigated misconduct claims.
Image: Vince McMahon
World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. Chairman Vince McMahon appears in the ring during the WWE Monday Night Raw show at the Thomas & Mack Center Aug. 24, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nev.Ethan Miller / Getty Images file

Pro wrestling's Vince McMahon announced his retirement from the WWE on Friday, a month after stepping back from his leadership role as the company investigates misconduct claims against him.

In a tweet posted at 4:05 p.m. EDT, McMahon thanked the "WWE Universe" and simply said it was "time for me to retire" as he nears age 77.

In a statement released through WWE, McMahon credited co-workers, fans and family for his success.

"As I approach 77 years old, I feel it’s time for me to retire as Chairman and CEO of WWE," he said.

"Throughout the years, it’s been a privilege to help WWE bring you joy, inspire you, thrill you, surprise you, and always entertain you."

On Friday, it was McMahon's daughter, Stephanie McMahon, who stood in the ring and welcomed the audience to Friday Night SmackDown.

"Earlier tonight, my father, Vince McMahon, retired from WWE," she said to booing from the crowd.

"This is the company that he created, that he founded, and he wanted to make sure in his retirement that he thanked all of you, he thanked the WWE Universe," she continued, before leading the crowd in chants of "thank you, Vince."

Back on June 17, Vince McMahon had surrendered his CEO role as the WWE board of directors appointed Stephanie McMahon as interim CEO and chairwoman of the Stamford, Connecticut-based company until the probe’s conclusion.

The WWE board said then it is investigating both the elder McMahon and John Laurinaitis, head of talent relations, for “alleged misconduct” — but did not detail any of the accusations.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the WWE board wants to know if McMahon paid a former employee $3 million so she’d keep quiet about an affair the two had.

The ongoing probe is also looking into allegations of other nondisclosure agreements involving former female WWE employees and Laurinaitis, the newspaper reported.

Few CEOs are as closely associated with a product as McMahon is to pro wrestling. He had frequently appeared in WWE broadcasts and is said to have had almost total control over scripts and storylines.

McMahon said Friday he's confident co-CEOs Stephanie McMahon and Nick Khan will maintain the product's quality.

“Our global audience can take comfort in knowing WWE will continue to entertain you with the same fervor, dedication, and passion as always," according to the elder McMahon. "I am extremely confident in the continued success of WWE."