Linda E. McMahon, one of five women in President Trump’s cabinet and the former chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment, is expected to resign on Friday as the head of the Small Business Administration, sources familiar with her decision said on Friday afternoon.
One of Mr. Trump’s most prolific donors during the 2016 presidential campaign, Ms. McMahon joined the administration early in Mr. Trump’s term and avoided the kinds of scandals and high-profile attention that many of her cabinet colleagues endured during the last two years.
In recent weeks, Ms. McMahon was thought to be a contender to replace Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, once Mr. Ross departs the government. One person familiar with Ms. McMahon’s decision said she has wanted to return to the private sector.
A spokesman for the Small Business Administration and several White House officials did not return emails seeking comment about Ms. McMahon’s departure.
A business executive who turned her attention to politics later in life, Ms. McMahon ran unsuccessfully for the United States Senate in Connecticut in 2010 and again in 2012.
But it was her connection to Mr. Trump that finally brought her into the elite ranks of the government. When he nominated her in 2016, Mr. Trump cited her business experience.
“Linda has a tremendous background and is widely recognized as one of the country’s top female executives advising businesses around the globe,” Mr. Trump said at the time. “She helped grow W.W.E. from a modest 13-person operation to a publicly traded global enterprise with more than 800 employees in offices worldwide.”
As the agency’s administrator, Ms. McMahon earned the respect of some Democrats, who praised her for expanding loans to women and for working to improve the efficiency of the agency.
People familiar with Ms. McMahon’s thinking said she is expected to take a position at the America First PAC, the political action committee supporting Mr. Trump’s re-election. She is expected to help the organization raise money.
Ms. McMahon was approached weeks ago as a possible official at the political action committee. She is able to raise money and is trusted by donors who want to know she is close to Mr. Trump, people familiar with the appointment said.