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The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) has appointed Nicholas Ahrens VP of privacy and cybersecurity. Ahrens, who officially joined the Arlington, Va.-based trade organization on Sept. 8, reports to SVP for Government Affairs Joe Rinzel.
Coming to RILA from the Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Ahrens will guide the association's privacy and data security agenda and act as the lead advocate to the government on cybersecurity, privacy, data security and related issues. Further, he'll work on the continued development and implementation of RILA's Cybersecurity and Data Privacy initiative.
Ahrens will additionally staff the RILA Privacy Leaders Council, which is made up of senior-level executives from the nation's largest retailers.
"Nick brings valuable insight into the critical privacy and data security challenges retailers face today," said RILA President Sandy Kennedy. "His experience will make him an outstanding advocate for the retail industry."
"Nicholas will be a tremendous asset to RILA and our member companies, both in his knowledge of privacy and cybersecurity issues and his deep understanding of the current regulatory climate," added Rinzel.
Ahrens spent four years at the Department of Commerce, holding such senior roles as counsel to the general counsel, in which he provided legal and policy advice on various privacy and cybersecurity issues. Previously, as special assistant to the general counsel for the department, Ahrens worked on the 2012 White House Consumer Data Privacy Blueprint, coordinating efforts for its launch in the European Union.
RILA's members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers and service suppliers.