George Barrios and Michelle Wilson, the executive duo who were forced out as co-presidents of WWE last year, have re-teamed to launch an investment shingle based in Westport, Conn.
Isos Capital Management will focus on investing in a range of media, entertainment and sports ventures, leveraging the pair’s past experience with the pro wrestling giant and blue-chip brands including the NBA and New York Times. The pair, who are founders and co-CEOs, worked together for 11 years at WWE.
“Global connectivity has unleashed unprecedented disruption in content creation, distribution and consumption. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated these changes and requires a new strategic framework for success,” said Barrios. “Against this backdrop, Michelle and I see unique opportunities for growth and value creation across the media, entertainment and sports ecosystem.”
Barrios and Wilson are among a wave of industry executives who are turning to investment and private equity ventures to capitalize on their industry knowledge at a time of transformation in the media eco-system. The two were abruptly elbowed out of their roles at WWE in January 2020 by WWE chairman Vince McMahon. The management shakeup came at a time when the publicly held company was facing tough scrutiny from Wall Street and feeling the heat of well-funded competitors on multiple fronts.
“We are a firm built by operators for operators, and we bring proven strategies and innovative thinking to help media, entertainment and sports companies win in the long term,” said Wilson. “George and I have worked together for more than a decade and have demonstrated how to achieve game-changing results in an evolving landscape.”
Barrios and Wilson were named co-presidents of WWE in February 2018. Barrios joined WWE in 2008 as chief strategy and financial officer, after stints and the New York Times, HBO and Time Warner. Wilson previously worked for WWE chief Vince McMahon’s XFL football league in 2001 and then returned to the WWE ring in 2009 as executive VP and CMO. Earlier in her career, she worked as a marketing executive for the U.S. Tennis Association, the NBA and Nabisco.
(Pictured: George Barrios and Michelle Wilson)