Shay Will Run Retail Lobby

Posted March 17, 2010 at 10:00am

The National Retail Federation has brought on Matt Shay, most recently head of the International Franchise Association, as its new CEO and president.

“I saw this as a fantastic opportunity to be a part of a premier trade group in this town,” Shay said.

The group had been looking to replace longtime CEO Tracy Mullin, who is retiring after 17 years as president of the trade group.

The NRF had been in merger negotiations with the Retail Industry Leaders Association, but the two groups decided to go their own ways after talks broke down last year. The NRF is the largest retail trade association made up of small and large retailers.

Shay began discussions about the position late last year. He will start in mid-May.

While Shay said he doesn’t expect to make major changes at the NRF, he said he wants to make sure that the group’s advocacy footprint is as large as its members’ economic footprint.

He said joining the NRF was like “coming home.” Twenty years ago Shay worked in government relations for the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.

He has been at the IFA since 1993. Shay took over as president in 2004 and CEO in 2007.

The IFA will be launching a search for a new head to replace Shay, he said. The IFA represents more than 1,300 franchise companies.