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The National Retail Federation (NRF) has appointed Bill Thorne to the position of SVP of communications and public affairs, effective June 1. In his new role, Thorne will oversee the Washington, D.C.-based organization’s industry and public affairs communications strategy, including the “Retail Means Jobs” campaign, a multimillion-dollar initiative spotlighting the importance of retail to America’s economy and career opportunities within the industry. Thorne is currently senior director, community affairs at Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
“Throughout his long career, Bill has proven himself to be an accomplished strategist with an incredible track record of creating and building successful campaigns,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “As NRF continues to invest in talent and resources to promote the retail industry both in Washington and around the world, bringing in an executive at the intersection of retail and government will help us tell the industry’s story in an even more compelling way.”
At Walmart, Thorne guided the creation and execution of campaigns for urban market entry, including budgets, strategy, and planning and development of both long- and short-term campaigns. He was also senior director of advocacy outreach, in which capacity he created and successfully launched Walmart’s corporate, public, and political advocacy network.
Before Walmart, Thorne was VP at Washington, D.C.-based DCI Group, where he led grass-roots advocacy, public relations and communications programming for various corporate and association clients. He additionally spent four years as director of political and legislative grassroots at the Chicago-based American Medical Association.
Earlier in his career, Thorne, a Georgia native, held politically related roles at the state and national levels, including several years with the National Republican Senatorial Committee and more than five years with Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas).