WWE confirms former chief Vince McMahon's return to board

File photo of World Wrestling Entertainment owner Vince McMahon in New York
World Wrestling Entertainment chairman Vince McMahon looks out at the crowd during a segment of NBC's "Today" show in New York, U.S., April 2, 2007. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Jan 6 (Reuters) - Vince McMahon, the former chief of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE.N), is returning to the board of the company that he transformed from a regional player in a highly fragmented industry of the 1980s to a global giant, WWE said on Friday.

Shares of the entertainment firm rose about 16%, as WWE also said that it would explore strategic alternatives confirming an earlier statement by McMahon.

McMahon, 77, said on Thursday that he expects to assume the role of executive chairman at WWE, to involve himself in the company's media rights negotiation process.

WWE's board is currently chaired by his daughter, Stephanie McMahon. The company did not state what position Vince McMahon would hold at the board. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The former executive, who holds majority of voting power in the company, had informed WWE that he was electing himself and two former co-presidents and directors Michelle Wilson and George Barrios to the board. WWE confirmed the appointments on Friday.

McMahon, who ran the company for four decades, said that the only way for WWE to fully capitalize on growing demand for content and live entertainment was for him to return as executive chairman.

McMahon retired in July last year as the company's CEO and chairman, following an investigation into his alleged misconduct. Later, WWE said that it found some unrecorded expenses tied to McMahon.

Reporting by Akash Sriram and Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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