Nearly two years after they were promoted to Co-Presidents of WWE, George Barrios and Michelle Wilson are leaving the company.
The full announcement from WWE states:
WWE® Announces Management Transition
STAMFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced that Co-Presidents George Barrios and Michelle Wilson will depart the company, effective immediately, and will no longer serve on its Board of Directors.
Frank A. Riddick III, who has served as a member of WWE’s Board of Directors for more than 11 years, has been named interim Chief Financial Officer, reporting to WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon. WWE has commenced a search for both a permanent Chief Financial Officer and Chief Revenue Officer.
WWE remains well positioned to continue its growth and operate effectively against its strategic priorities, including content creation and distribution, digitization, and localization in key markets around the world. The Company expects its full year 2019 Adjusted OIBDA to be approximately $180 million.
“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.”
Riddick previously served as CEO for FloWorks International, LLC, JMC Steel Group, Formica Corporation, and Triangle Pacific Corp., and President/COO of Armstrong World Industries, Inc. He has also served in executive management positions, including Chief Financial Officer, Controller, Treasurer, and Vice President of Mergers and Acquisitions during a career that spans 40 years. Riddick also served as Compensation Committee Chairman and member of the Audit Committee as a part of WWE’s Board of Directors.
Barrios and Wilson were promoted to their positions in February of 2018. At the time, it was said this was done “in recognition of their contributions to four years of record revenues and the successful transformation to a multi-platform business model.”
There has been a lot of speculation and some conspiracy theories about why Barrios and Wilson are gone, but word is that the main reason they’re out is that they and Vince had completely different visions as to how WWE could generate revenue, new and existing revenue, moving forward.
The timing of the announcement was very interesting as WWE is scheduled to report their fourth quarter and full 2019 earnings report next Thursday. PWInsider notes that this makes it clear that Vince isn’t happy with how things were going for the company, and he felt like it was time for a change. There’s a very small circle of people who know exactly what went down and it’s likely that the full situation and how it did go down won’t be known for a long time, due to corporate non-disclosures and severance packages. It’s believed that both Wilson and Barrios will receive a seven-figure severance package.