February 3, 2020
Less than 24 hours after WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and the Board of Directors shockingly ousted Co-Presidents George Barrios and Michelle Wilson, Wall Street is responding with a predictable bloodbath.
In a statement, WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon said: “The Board and I decided a change was necessary as we have different views on how best to achieve our strategic priorities moving forward.”
Barrios had joined WWE in 2008 as CFO, previously serving as the Vice President and treasurer of the New York Times Company. Wilson joined WWE in 2009 as its executive Vice President of marketing and was promoted to CMO in 2011. Previously, she was the CMO of the USTA.
WWE’s stock, which fell by over 20% within an hour of the shake up continued to implode during after-hours trading, opening at an alarming $45.41 Friday morning, down 27%. The number marks an 18-month low for the once-blazing stock as the last time WWE’s share price fell under $50 was in May of 2018.
In the same release announcing the departures of Barrios and Wilson, WWE also said it expected its full-year 2019 adjusted OIBDA to be approximately $180 million below forecasts from Wall Street analysts.
“Television ratings have crumbled, while engagement metrics across the company’s other business units have followed linear TV ratings down. Fans have continuously complained about the quality of the company’s content,” said LightShed Partners analyst Brandon Ross in a report Friday.
WWE has essentially gone an entire generation with its key performance indicators declining year over year. Making such a significant firing to top executives with no notice should only continue to raise red flags as WWE’s embattled empire soldiers on.