World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. has named former lawyers for the Las Vegas Raiders and Time Warner Inc. to executive posts following the departure of Vince McMahon.
Daniel Ventrelle, a former president and general counsel of the National Football League’s Raiders, is the executive vice president of talent, WWE said in a statement Thursday. Former Time Warner lawyer Maurice Edelson has been hired as the company’s chief legal officer, WWE said.
The duo join the Stamford, Conn.-based professional wrestling circuit after the company saw its longtime top executive Vince McMahon retire in July following allegations of misconduct. WWE has identified $14.6 million in unrecorded expenses linked to McMahon, who still has a controlling stake in the company.
Ventrelle and Edelson weren’t immediately available to discuss their new jobs.
Ventrelle moves to WWE after the Raiders fired him in May. He accused the team of terminating him for telling NFL management about claims of a hostile work environment at the Raiders.
He spent 18 years with the NFL team, which promoted him last year from general counsel to president.
Ventrelle played a key role in relocating the Raiders to Las Vegas in 2020 from their former home in Oakland, Calif. He worked with WWE last year when the company held its annual SummerSlam event at the Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium.
Edelson most recently was vice president of administration and general counsel for the Juilliard School in New York, where he worked since 2015.
He received almost $498,500 in total pay during fiscal 2019-20, the most recent federal tax filing by Juilliard, a private performing arts conservatory.
Juilliard, which also paid more than $442,400 to Hogan Lovells for legal services that same year, didn’t respond to a request for comment about Edelson’s replacement.
Edelson, a former Cravath, Swaine & Moore associate, spent more than 15 years at Time Warner, where he was general counsel for the media giant’s legacy publishing arm before becoming deputy general counsel for the parent company.
“Maurice brings to WWE a tremendous legal and business acumen within the media, arts, and entertainment sectors,” said a statement from Stephanie McMahon, who succeeded her father as co-CEO of the company.
WWE Lawyer Changes
Edelson becomes WWE’s fourth new top lawyer in three years.
WWE announced in April its hire of Elisebeth Collins as general counsel. An auto-response message from her WWE email address said she “no longer works” at the company and directed inquiries to longtime deputy general counsel James Langham.
Langham and a WWE spokesman didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Both Edelson and Ventrelle will work under Stephanie McMahon and fellow co-CEO Nick Khan, an attorney and former executive at Creative Artists Agency initially hired by WWE in 2020 to be the company’s president and chief revenue officer.
WWE last month announced revised financial results for three years following the near completion of a special investigation into Vince McMahon.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett was retained by the company’s board to conduct the inquiry following a $3 million “hush money” settlement between WWE’s former chairman and chief executive and a female paralegal, according to reporting by the Wall Street Journal.
The Journal reported that K&L Gates partner Jerry McDevitt, a longtime personal lawyer to McMahon, negotiated the settlement. K&L Gates handled roughly 36% of WWE’s cases in US federal courts over the past five years, per Bloomberg Law data.
WWE has had a revolving door of top lawyers within the past decade.
Brian Nurse, who served as WWE’s general counsel for two years until leaving the company in late 2020, was hired last year as the new top lawyer for amusement park operator Cedar Fair LP.
WWE hired Nurse to succeed Blake Bilstad, who spent three years in the company’s top legal role and last year was named the new legal chief for multi-level marketing company Beachbody Co. Inc.
The now-departed Collins was hired to take over from another former WWE general counsel, Samira Shah, who the company hired last year from her former role as the top lawyer for online fashion retailer Modus Operandi Inc.
Shah, who left WWE ahead of Collins’ hire, recently resurfaced in a new in-house role. Shah has become senior vice president of legal and general counsel for New York Road Runners Inc., the nonprofit entity that puts on the annual New York City Marathon, she said in a statement posted to her LinkedIn profile last week.
Earlier this year, WWE hired Allison Emmett as a vice president of business and legal affairs for entertainment. Emmett came aboard after the company saw Darren Traub, a former Big Law partner whom it hired last year for a business and legal affairs role, depart to become general counsel for social video unicorn Triller Inc.
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