Surprising news from WWE today as the company’s co-Presidents, George Barrios and Michelle Wilson, have been replaced after 2019 earnings came in below expectations. WWE’s corporate website described it as a “management transition,” while a report from Variety describes as the top executives being, “forced out.” WWE will be looking for a new permanent Chief Financial and Chief Revenue Officers, while 11-year WWE front office veteran Frank A. Riddick III will perform interim CFO duties.
WWE CEO and Chairman Vince McMahon says the change was “necessary” due to “different views on how best to achieve our strategic priorities.” This comes after a period that includes a stock drop — 14% to $53.50 — as well as progressively lowering TV ratings and an increase in prime-time competition. WWE stock continued to fall following the announcement.
Stock price now $49.79, 20.5% drop in an hour
— Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON) January 30, 2020
McMahon commented on the move in WWE’s press release:
“I would like to thank George and Michelle for their 10+ years of service and contributions to the organization,” said McMahon. “I am grateful for all that was accomplished during their tenure, but the Board and I decided a change was necessary as we have different views on how best to achieve our strategic priorities moving forward.
“We have a deep team of talented, experienced and committed executives across the organization, and the Board and I have great confidence in our collective abilities to create compelling content, engage our global fanbase across platforms, increase revenues, and drive shareholder value.”
It’s interesting that both Barrios and Wilson were canned without replacements lined up for their positions, especially with the company beginning its yearly march toward WrestleMania. We’ll keep you updated as more information, and its lasting impact, becomes available.