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Vince McMahon announces return as WWE chairman

Months after sports entertainment visionary Vince McMahon, flanked by son-in-law Paul "Triple H" Levesque (L) and son Shane McMahon (R), stepped down as the head of World Wrestling Entertainment, he announced his plan to return on Thursday.. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Months after sports entertainment visionary Vince McMahon, flanked by son-in-law Paul "Triple H" Levesque (L) and son Shane McMahon (R), stepped down as the head of World Wrestling Entertainment, he announced his plan to return on Thursday.. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Months after sports entertainment visionary Vince McMahon stepped down as the head of World Wrestling Entertainment, he announced his plan to return on Thursday.

McMahon stepped down amid allegations of misconduct, including hush money payments to a former female employee he is accused of having an affair with. As the controlling stockholder in the company, McMahon elected himself and two former board members back to the board. McMahon plans to name himself executive chairman.

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"WWE is entering a critical juncture in its history with the upcoming media rights negotiations coinciding with increased industry-wide demand for quality content and live events and with more companies seeking to own the intellectual property on their platforms," said McMahon.

"The only way for WWE to fully capitalize on this opportunity is for me to return as Executive Chairman and support the management team in the negotiations for our media rights and to combine that with a review of strategic alternatives. My return will allow WWE, as well as any transaction counterparties, to engage in these processes knowing they will have the support of the controlling shareholder."

Along with McMahon, former co-presidents Michelle Wilson and George Barrios will replace three existing board members who were not named.

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Stock in WWE closed at $72.04 on Thursday, up $1.59.

An investigation into allegations against McMahon found that he had paid about $15 million to four women to keep them from going public with allegations of sexual misconduct. The payments happened over the course of 16 years. He stepped down in August, putting his daughter, Stephanie McMahon, and former WWE president Nick Khan into the role of co-CEOs.

McMahon famously exercised almost unquestioned creative control over WWE's on-screen product, from storylines to character presentation. When he left his active role in the company, he appointed his son-in-law Paul Levesque, known by his on-screen name Triple H, as head of creative.

The Mr. McMahon character was once a prominent feature on WWE programming but McMahon has rarely appeared on television in recent years. After the allegations against him came to light, he made a rare appearance on Smackdown Live, delivering an unofficial "farewell" weeks before stepping away from the company.

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