, who, along with CEO Matt Shay
, has helped turn the National Retail Federation
from a sleepy trade association into a more prominent Washington player, is leaving the group for the Business Roundtable
"As head of an association representing leading U.S. CEOs it is only fitting to have one of Washington's most seasoned communicators on board. Tita returns to BRT and brings with her a tremendous amount of communication expertise having worked on behalf of large business trade groups as well as her numerous contacts in Washington," Engler said in a statement sent to the Alley. "She will be an extraordinary asset for American business as we move forward on policies that promote economic growth and job creation."
In a Wednesday email to staff, Shay credited Freeman for the "critical role" she played "in achieving our goals of raising visibility and increasing effectiveness of our advocacy programs." The search for her replacement will begin immediately, he wrote. (Read the full email after the jump.)
"As a result of what Tita helped us put in place this is a much better job than she came into and its a much stronger organization than it was a few short years ago," Shay told the Alley in an interview. "In that regard, to the extent that there's a silver lining, it will be easeir to recruit because of the transformation that's taking place and the awareness we have among policymakers and downtown."
He added, "The only thing that I would let her go to do is this job or the Facebook IPO. I let her go, I blessed it 100 percent and it's a great oppurutnity for her and her family."
The move is a homecoming of sorts for Freeman, who worked at the BRT for five years earlier in her career. Freeman joined NRF a little less than a year ago from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce where she was a vice president.
"It's an honor to have worked at the top three business trade groups in Washington in a short span of time. It's my little trifecta," Freeman told the Alley.