As Chief Executive Officer of Rich Products Corporation, Bill Gisel is responsible for guiding the company’s long-term strategic direction, governance and overseeing Rich’s organizational excellence, leadership development, risk management and culture evolution. He is also a member of the company’s board of directors.
Bill started his career at Bankers Trust Company in 1974. After completing law school in 1978, he joined Phillips Lytle as an associate in the litigation department. He joined Rich’s in 1982, serving as the company’s first general counsel. During the 1980s, he worked closely with Bob Rich Jr. on the company’s initial involvement in minor league baseball. While serving as Vice President of Bison Baseball Inc., he was a primary driver of efforts to fund and construct Buffalo’s baseball stadium, now known as Coca-Cola Field.
In 1988, Bob Rich Jr. charged Bill with extending Rich’s business into foreign markets and named Bill Vice President of the newly formed International Division. For the next eight years, Bill led the company’s expansion into Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America. In 1993, he was elevated to the post of Executive Vice President of International and Strategic Planning. Rich’s now operates businesses on six continents and sells products in more than 100 countries.
In 1996, Bill assumed the position of Chief Operating Officer and President of Rich’s Food Group. In the ensuing decade, Rich’s more than doubled its size and annual revenues through organic growth, acquisitions and international expansion.
In 2006, Bob Rich Jr. became Chairman of the company and appointed Bill as President and Chief Executive Officer.
Bill was named the 2014 Buffalo Niagara Executive of the Year by the University at Buffalo School of Management at the 65th annual School of Management Alumni Associate Awards. Bob Rich, Sr. (1966) and Bob Rich, Jr. (1984) also received this honor. He is the recipient of numerous other awards and honors, including the Buffalo Niagara PRSA Outstanding Executive Award (2017), Nichols School Centennial Medal (2010), Canisius College Business Executive of the Year Award (2006), Thomas Hart Kendig Award for Export Achievement
(1995), Rich Products President’s Award (1994), Buffalo Business First’s 40 Under Forty Award (1992) and Nichols School Distinguished Alumnus Award (1990).
He has been active in the food industry as a board member of the Grocery Manufacturers of America and the Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF), where he served as treasurer from 2003-2005. The WFF, an organization devoted to the promotion of opportunities for women executives, honored Bill with its President’s Award in 2005. The Rich Products Women’s Supporting Women organization also bestowed on him its Pioneer Award.
In 2001, Bill and a fellow Buffalonian, Ted Walsh, participated in a cross-Alaska cycling trek to benefit AIDS vaccine research. In 2005, he published a book on the experience, titled, “The Ride: Cycling For Life” with proceeds benefiting the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. He later published a second book, “In All Her Steps,” a biography of his late mother Katherine Gisel.
Over the past three decades, Bill has served on numerous boards. He is currently a member of the Confucius Institute Board of Directors for the State University of New York at Buffalo and is a former chairman of the board of trustees for the WNED public broadcasting organization. The Vice-Chairman of the John R. Oishei Foundation and the Josephine Goodyear Foundation, Bill is a former president of the Board of Trustees of the Nichols School.
In addition to Rich’s, Bill is a current director on the boards of Keycorp and Moog, Inc. and is an advisory board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Bill graduated from the Nichols School in 1970. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Williams College in Massachusetts in 1974 and a Juris Doctorate from the Emory University School of Law in Atlanta in 1978. In 1987, he received an MBA from the University of Rochester William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration.