By Joe Flint 

World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. hired Nick Khan of Creative Artist Agency as its new president and chief revenue officer, the company said Wednesday.

Mr. Khan is no stranger to the WWE. As CAA's co-head of television, he negotiated the company's 2019 television pacts with Fox Corp.'s Fox and Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal, deals that bring in annual rights fees of $468 million through 2024.

WWE is looking for Mr. Khan to fill the void left by the departures earlier this year of co-presidents George Barrios and Michelle Wilson after clashing with Chairman and Chief Executive Vince McMahon. At the time of their resignations, Mr. McMahon said, "the board and I decided a change was necessary as we have different views on how best to achieve our strategic priorities."

Among the priorities for Mr. Khan are a new Middle Eastern television-rights deal and a potential sale of the WWE Network streaming service, which Mr. McMahon said last year was under consideration.

In a statement Mr. McMahon said Mr. Khan has a "deep understanding of our business" and that his "management style and personal demeanor are perfect for WWE's entrepreneurial culture."

WWE is facing several challenges. The coronavirus has meant no audiences at WWE's television shows, and ratings have fallen as a result. In addition, All Elite Wrestling, a new competitor whose content is carried by AT&T Inc.'s TNT network, has gotten off to a strong start.

"We once thought of WWE as a rare content gem in the media ecosystem, benefiting from the ever increasing value for live content," said Wells Fargo analyst Steven Cahall in a recent report. "Unfortunately, content rights values have come in a bit more modest and investments remain higher."

In an interview, Mr. Khan said he decided to make the jump to WWE as a result of his deepening friendship with Mr. McMahon and his daughter Stephanie McMahon, who also holds a senior operating role at the company.

"The relationship materialized from purely professional with collective success together to a personal warm relationship as well," Mr. Khan said. He declined to comment on what his priorities would be in his new role.

Mr. Khan has been a lifelong fan of the WWE and even served as an usher at a Wrestlemania event in college. As the son of Iranian immigrants, Mr. Khan said he grew up a fan of the WWE's "The Iron Sheik."

"I have a full appreciation of the WWE with very little understanding of anyone who does not," he said.

Mr. Khan comes from a show-business family. His sister, Nahnatchka Khan, created the ABC comedy "Fresh Off the Boat" and is producing a new NBC series "Young Rock" about the childhood of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who will also appear in the show.

Besides the WWE, Mr. Khan had several high-profile clients at CAA including college football's Southeastern Conference and popular sports TV hosts Colin Cowherd and Mike Greenberg.

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 05, 2020 15:08 ET (19:08 GMT)

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