Vince McMahon retiring as WWE chairman and CEO, signaling massive shift in pro wrestling

The most important person in the history of professional wrestling is handing over the reins.

Vince McMahon is retiring as World Wrestling Entertainment chairman and CEO, he announced Friday. In a WWE news release, the 76-year-old McMahon further announced that his daughter, Stephanie, and current WWE president Nick Khan will be taking over as co-CEOs. 

Stephanie McMahon, who has been acting as interim CEO, will also take over as chairwoman, according to the McMahon statement.

McMahon had previously stepped down from his role as chairman and CEO in the wake of a Wall Street Journal report that revealed a WWE board investigation into a secret $3 million settlement given by McMahon to a former WWE paralegal.

But at the time, McMahon still kept his role as the head of WWE creative, and sources told ESPN that McMahon's stepping down was done for optics.

The Wall Street Journal followed up with another report about alleged McMahon improprieties on July 8.

The newspaper reported that the board was investigating $12 million given to four former WWE employees or contractors to silence allegations about McMahon's sexual misconduct.

The $12 million included an alleged $7.5 million to a former female WWE wrestler who said McMahon coerced her into having oral sex, demoted her and then didn't renew her contract in 2005 after she resisted further sexual encounters with him.

McMahon's retirement represents a massive shift in the world of professional wrestling, where he has been a fixture since buying WWE from his father in the 1980s. McMahon built WWE into a billion-dollar brand with a worldwide reach, a promotion that stood tall over the decades against its competition.