WWE has undergone a major transition among its top executives with company co-presidents George Barrios and Michelle Wilson leaving the company.
The company issued a press release on Thursday confirming their departures and provided the following:
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.
Outside of Vince McMahon, Barrios and Wilson were the highest-ranking executives in the company. McMahon was later quoted in the release citing ‘different views on how best to achieve our strategic priorities’ leading to McMahon and their board of directors making the decision to part ways with the two.
Wilson was the VP of Marketing within the original incarnation of the XFL and served in that capacity for a year before going to the United States Tennis Association for several years.
Wilson would return to work with Vince McMahon in 2009 as part of WWE several months after the company has adjusted its programming to fit a PG stance with eyes on launching their own network that Wilson would be tied to. Wilson rose within the company from Chief Marketing Officer to Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer and being named co-president with Barrios in February 2018.
Barrios, a graduate of the University of Connecticut, worked at HBO, Praxair, and later at the New York Times in various capacities from 2002-2008.
Barrios came to WWE in March 2008 and was named the company’s new Chief Financial Officer replacing Frank Serpe, who retired after 21 years. Barrios became one of the most public faces of the company when speaking with the investor community, going on talks shows, and participating in their quarterly investor’s calls.
Company chairman Vince McMahon was quoted in the release stating:
I would like to thank George and Michelle for their 10+ years of service and contributions to the organization. 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.
This significant shakeup occurs one week before the company’s investor’s call next Thursday where this news should be a major subject during the Q&A. It also occurs just over one week before Vince McMahon’s Alpha Entertainment re-launches the XFL.