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WASHINGTON —The International Franchise Association's Chairman Ken Walker, who is also chairman and CEO of Driven Brands, Inc., announced today the resignation of Matthew Shay as IFA President and CEO. Shay has accepted the position of President and CEO at the National Retail Federation, a non-profit umbrella trade group that represents 100 retails associations. He succeeds Tracy Mullin, who is retiring after 17 years as NRF’s CEO.
Alisa Harrison, communications and marketing vice president of the IFA, told Blue MauMau that Mr. Shay will continue to work with the association until April 16.
The NRF states that he will be elected formally at the June 22 NRF board meeting. He will begin working with the federation in mid-May.
"Matthew Shay has done an outstanding job as President and CEO of the IFA and we wish him and his family all the best as he assumes his new responsibilities," Walker said. "We will immediately form a search committee comprised of IFA leaders to find his replacement as quickly as possible."
Shay joined the International Franchise Association in 1993 and held several senior management positions before becoming president in 2004. He was promoted to CEO in 2007. During his tenure, the IFA forged stronger ties with Capitol Hill and the White House. The IFA opposed the LaFalce, Coble-Conyers bill in the U.S. Congress in the early 1990s that attempted to protect franchisees against franchisor fraud and abuse. It was also adamantly against a second and stronger bill introduced in 1999 that also aimed to protect franchisees, the Small Business Franchise Act. During Shay's stint, the trade association was able to successfully help defeat a number of suggested changes to the Federal Trade Commission's franchise rule that would have brought greater franchisor transparency to franchisees. During the recent recession though, the association has worked with President Obama's administration to increase SBA-backed loans so that franchise buyers and franchisees can better access capital.
Shay also focused the IFA's efforts on finding new revenue streams, putting it on a sound financial footing.
"It has been an honor for me to serve the franchise industry over the past 17 years and a privilege to have made so many close friends," Shay said. "I'm proud of what we have been able to accomplish on behalf of our members, including increasing the awareness of IFA and franchising among a variety of audiences, particularly in Washington, D.C. IFA has a solid financial foundation and membership is bouncing back strongly after the recent economic challenges facing our country. I am confident that the progress we have made will continue under the strong team of leaders and staff guiding the organization."
While considered effective in advocating for the interests of franchisors, Shay was seen by many franchisees as a polarizing figure. The IFA's choice of a successor will be closely watched by many in the franchise community as an indicator of the direction the IFA will be taking with respect to franchisor-franchisee relations.