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Kennedy leaving RILA, Dodge named president

Current president to retire after leading retail industry group for 17 years

Kennedy and DodgeKennedy, left, and Dodge

Oct, 22, 2019
By Walt Williams

Sandy Kennedy will retire as president of the $22 million-revenue Retail Industry Leaders Association at the end of the year, with COO Brian Dodge moving into the top spot following her departure.

Kennedy has led RILA since 2002. In that time, she has led the association through a series of high-profile policy battles, from regulation of debit card swipe fees to state laws governing the collection of sales taxes for online purchases.  She also oversaw the creation of RILA’s Retail Litigation Center in 2009 and moved the association’s offices closer to Capitol Hill earlier this year.

Brick-and-mortar retailers make up the bulk of RILA’s membership. It is an industry that has struggled in recent years with the rise of Amazon and other online-only retailers, although many brick-and-mortar chains now have their own online shopping components.

“The retail industry’s experienced several cycles of profound change in the 17 years Sandy’s led this organization,” Brian Cornell, Target CEO and chairman of RILA’s board of directors, said in a statement. “And through it all, she’s been a strong advocate for the kind of public policy that ensures a level playing field for our member companies and helps us better serve the millions of American families who shop our stores.”

Dodge joined RILA in 2007. He previously worked in policy roles both inside and outside government, including as a staff member for former Rep. Jack Quinn (R-N.Y.) and former Massachusetts Governors Paul Cellucci and Jane Swift. He will become president on Jan. 1.

“Brian will hit the ground running as RILA’s next president,” Mary Dillon, Ulta Beauty CEO and vice chair of RILA’s board, said in a statement. “His background in public policy and industry knowledge make him the right choice to lead this important organization.”

Kennedy earned $925,001 in take-home pay in 2017, according to the most recently available tax records. Dodge as COO earned $367,500 during the same time period.