President-elect Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he will nominate Linda McMahon, co-founder and former CEO of WWE, to head the Small Business Administration.
“Linda has a tremendous background and is widely recognized as one of the country’s top female executives advising businesses around the globe,” Trump said of McMahon, according to a transition statement emailed to reporters Wednesday. “She helped grow WWE from a modest 13-person operation to a publicly traded global enterprise with more than 800 employees in offices worldwide. Linda is going to be a phenomenal leader and champion for small businesses and unleash America’s entrepreneurial spirit all across the country.”
In the same release, McMahon said she was “honored to join the incredibly impressive economic team that President-elect Trump has assembled.”
McMahon, along with her husband, Vince McMahon, shaped World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.—founded as Titan Sports, Inc., in 1980—into a global entertainment powerhouse. Donald Trump is in the WWE Hall of Fame, and once shaved Vince McMahon’s head during a WrestleMania event, one installment in a storied rivalry between the two tycoon showmen.
In 2007, according to the Washington Post, the McMahons gave the Trump Foundation its largest single contribution ever, $4 million. Trump was appearing in WWE events at the time, though he was reportedly being paid a separate fee for his appearances.
Linda McMahon is an active funder of Republican politicians, and ran two unsuccessful bids for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut, in 2010 and 2012, spending a combined $100 million on the campaigns, according to CNBC.
The Small Business Administration, which was re-elevated into the Cabinet in 2012, makes government-backed loans to small businesses, guides federal contracts to them, and provides grant funding to groups that offer counseling to small businesses.