Bill Thorne

Executive Director, NRF Foundation and SVP, Communications And Public Affairs

Bill Thorne is executive director of the NRF Foundation and senior vice president for communications and public affairs at the National Retail Federation. At the NRF Foundation, he oversees a team charged with helping to shape retail’s future through programs that build awareness about careers in retail, scholarship programs, and training and credentialing. As SVP for communications and public affairs, he is responsible for the creation and implementation of communication strategies around advocacy priorities, policy campaigns and reputational programs. 

Thorne came to NRF in 2012 from the Walmart Corporation in Bentonville, Ark. He started with Walmart as the senior director for advocacy and outreach. In this role, he was responsible for developing, implementing and growing the company’s strategic advocacy campaigns and reputational efforts. In 2009, he became the senior director of community affairs where he was responsible for helping the largest retailer in the world grow its presence in urban markets.

Prior to Walmart, Thorne served as a vice president for the DCI Group, a public affairs firm, where he worked with a range of clients such as AT&T, Verizon and Lockheed Martin on a number of public relations campaigns. He has association experience, serving five years as the director of political and legislative grassroots at the American Medical Association as well as a number of years working with successful political campaigns on the local, state and federal levels. Thorne started his career in Washington as a legislative assistant for Banking and Finance in the office of former U.S. Senator Phil Gramm.

Thorne is originally from Savannah, Ga., and holds a journalism degree from the University of Georgia.