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Matthew Shay
Matthew Shay

Matthew R. Shay

President and CEO
National Retail Federation
202-783-7971

Matthew Shay is president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association. Shay serves as chief advocate and spokesman for the nation’s largest private-sector industry employer, responsible for creating one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans — and generating $2.6 trillion in annual GDP.

Since his arrival in 2010, Shay has transformed NRF into Washington’s most powerful voice supporting the retail industry, leading the organization to new levels of effectiveness on policy issues, increasing awareness of the industry’s economic impact and expanding political engagement. Under his tenure, membership has more than doubled to 18,000, revenue has doubled and advocacy investments have grown significantly.

Shay led the implementation of a new strategic plan for the organization, allocating significant new financial and human resources to government relations and advocacy, a new approach to communications and public affairs, and increased focus on delivering member value. The plan has led to legislative movement on key issues like patent litigation reform, sales tax fairness and data security; the creation of the This is Retail industry perception campaign; NRF’s most successful annual convention in its 100-year history; and the expansion of the NRF Foundation, which awarded over $1 million in educational scholarships last year alone.

Shay previously served as president and CEO of the International Franchise Association, which represents more than 1,200 franchise companies in retail and other industries around the world. During his time as CEO, the 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.

Shay has been recognized by CEO Update as one of the top 50 nonprofit chief executives in Washington. He serves on a number of boards and committees, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the American Society of Association Executives where he serves as secretary, Good360, So Others Might Eat, the U.S. Capitol Historical Society and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Association Committee of 100.

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.