Donald Trump picks WWE co-founder for cabinet - Who is Linda McMahon?
The founder of the WWE wrestling franchise has been chosen by Donald Trump as the leader of the Small Business Administration – the federal department in charge of providing small businesses with loans and support.
Linda McMahon, 68, is one of only a handful of people who can come close to Mr Trump on spending to win a federal position.
She ran unsuccessfully for a Senate seat in Connecticut twice, in 2010 and 2012, and spent $100 million in the process – outspending Ross Perot's two presidential bids, which cost him $72 million.
During her 2012 campaign Mrs McMahon used rhetoric remarkably similar to that adopted by Mr Trump four years later.
“In the Senate I will owe you, not the special interests who corrupt so many career politicians from Hartford to Washington,” she said, in one of her campaign ads.
Her then-campaign manager, Corry Bliss, told The New York Times that her spending was not an issue for voters – again, foreshadowing Mr Trump’s team’s words.
Mrs McMahon and her husband Vince, a former wrestler who grew up in a North Carolina trailer park, made their fortune through the wrestling industry, with the company that evolved into WWE founded by Mr McMahon’s grandfather in 1952.
The McMahons took the business and turned it into an international sensation. Vince's family tree can be traced back to County Galway in Ireland, where his family moved from in the 19th century.
WWE went public in 1999 and today its programmes are broadcast in nearly 150 countries and in more than 30 languages.
Forbes magazine estimates the McMahons’ fortune at $1.16 billion, and with their WWE Network launched in February Mr McMahon, who pioneered pay-per-view TV, hopes to draw 2 million diehard fans to pay $9.99 a month for the online streaming service.
The couple, who met in church when Linda was 13 and Vince was 16, have two children, and live in Connecticut.
They are known to be generous supporters of Republican campaigns, and threw their weight behind Mr Trump in the early stages of the race.
Mr Trump's announcement, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, said Mrs McMahon would be a key player in his effort to generate stronger job growth and roll back federal regulations.
He said she had helped the WWE grow from a 13-person operation to a publicly traded global enterprise with more than 800 employees worldwide.
Mr Trump, who has made multiple cameos in WWE stories, is a WWE Hall of Fame member.
"Linda has a tremendous background and is widely recognised as one of the country’s top female executives advising businesses around the globe," said Mr Trump in the announcement.
Mrs McMahon said her goal as the SBA chief would be to promote small businesses and help them grow and thrive.
“Our small businesses are the largest source of job creation in our country,” she said.