After working as a trial lawyer for four years, Bill Gisel joined Rich’s in 1982 to help establish Rich’s in-house legal department and develop an international technology licensing portfolio. During this time Bill also earned his MBA at the University of Rochester, and then, as he puts it, “moved over to the business side.”
Bill worked closely with Bob Rich Jr. during the 1980s to acquire the Buffalo Bisons, which included moving the club, negotiating new player development contracts and the building of a new baseball park in Downtown Buffalo. In the late 1980s, Bill headed the creation of Rich’s International Division and Rich’s expansion into Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America. In 1996, Bill was named the President of Rich’s overall food business. In 2006, Bob Rich Jr. became chairman of the company and appointed Bill as president and chief executive officer.
On Being Successful at Rich’s
“The greatest difference in modern business and previous eras is the recognition of the importance of organization, culture, and engagement of associates. I think that if you were to poll CEOs across the world, you’d see that most of them are keenly aware that engagement and alignment of employees around key objectives is a top priority.”
On Ethical Behaviors
“I learned early on in life that certain ethical principles are absolute. It can be very easy to rationalize, to say, ‘In this case that doesn’t apply — it’s just a small thing.’ But there is no such thing as a small transgression when you’re dealing with fundamental principles. That refusal to rationalize is an important quality of any organization that commits to ethical behavior.”
On Taking Risks
“Over 30 years I’ve made some mistakes, but I’ve never felt anything less than 100 percent support from Bob and Mindy and the Rich family. That ability to look forward, without having to look over our shoulders, is what has facilitated so many of the big steps we’ve taken as a company.”