Friday, January 16, 2009

WWE CEO Named To State Education Board

A top executive and occasional performer at World Wrestling Entertainment of Stamford is Gov. M. Jodi Rell's choice to help set state education policy. Linda E. McMahon is the chief executive officer of the WWE, the producer of tightly scripted, cable television melodramas built around the cartoonish violence and sex appeal of professional wrestling. McMahon, 60, of Greenwich, was appointed to the state Board of Education on Dec. 23, but Rell's office did not announce the selection until last weekend. As an executive, McMahon helped build the WWE into a multimedia powerhouse. She faces a legislative confirmation hearing Feb. 5. The co-chairmen of the legislature's education committee, Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, D-West Hartford, and Sen. Thomas Gaffey, D-Meriden, were surprised Wednesday to hear of the nomination. Neither raised an objection, but Fleischmann said legislators will be interested in exploring her qualifications. The company has come under fire in Congress for allegations of steroid use by wrestling stars whose careers are avidly tracked by teenage boys."If the governor had any concerns, she wouldn't have forwarded her name," said a Rell spokesman, Donna Tommelleo. McMahon declined an interview request. "I look forward to meeting with the appropriate members of the state legislature to address any questions they may have about how I will perform as a member of the State Board of Education," she said in an e-mailed statement. "I also look forward to offering my perspectives to the board. I intend to be an inquisitive and active member." McMahon, a trustee at Sacred Heart University, said she has a longtime interest in education. McMahon met Rell while she was lieutenant governor and has contributed to her campaigns. In a statement released by her office, Rell said, "Linda clearly understands the skills and education needed to succeed in business and the type of highly educated and skilled workforce that must be available to ensure that success."