Matthew R. Shay

President and CEO

Matthew Shay is president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association. He serves as chief advocate and spokesman for the nation’s largest private-sector industry employer, responsible for supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 52 million working Americans — and generating $3.9 trillion in annual GDP. He is a frequent guest on CNBC, Fox Business Network and Bloomberg Television. 

Since his arrival in 2010, Shay has transformed NRF into Washington’s most powerful voice supporting the retail industry. Under his tenure, membership and revenue have more than doubled and the organization’s influence has grown significantly in Washington, across the United States and globally. He has led the organization to new levels of effectiveness on policy issues, increasing awareness of the industry’s economic impact and expanding political engagement. Shay has also been at the forefront of shifting and framing the narrative about the current state of retail, particularly its digital evolution and vibrant, multichannel future. 

Shay previously served as president and CEO of the International Franchise Association. During his time as CEO, IFA adopted an aggressive public policy agenda that led to a series of initiatives to restore much-needed credit to cash-strapped retail and other franchise businesses during the last recession. 

He has been recognized by CEO Update as the 2020 Trade Association CEO of the year and by Association TRENDS as the 2019 Association Executive of the year. Shay serves as chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Association Committee of 100, and is a member of the board at the U.S. Chamber and So Others Might Eat. He also served as chairman of the ASAE Board of Directors from 2017-2018. 

Shay is a graduate of Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, and The Ohio State University College of Law, and holds a master’s degree in business administration from the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business. He also holds an honorary doctor of humane letters from Wittenberg University and an honorary degree of professional designation in merchandise marketing from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. 

Shay and his wife Allison live in Arlington, Va., with their three children.