Rich Products has announced an executive leadership transition – one that activates the company’s decade-long succession plan.
Effective January 1, 2020, long-time chief executive officer (CEO) Bill Gisel will become executive vice chair of Rich Holdings, Inc. – the holding company for all Rich family business enterprises, including food, logistics, sports, travel, dining and theatre.
With that move, current Rich Products president and chief operating officer (COO) Richard Ferranti will be promoted, succeeding Gisel as the company’s new CEO and becoming the leader of Rich’s $4 billion global food business.
“No associate has greater individual influence over the success of our global business than the chief executive officer,” said Bob Rich, Jr., chairman, Rich Products. “For more than a decade, Bill Gisel has worked closely with Mindy Rich and me to chart the right course for the eventual succession of our company’s CEO. During that time, Richard Ferranti emerged as a trusted leader; one with tremendous energy and passion for our business, our customers and our associates.”
Global growth fueled by focus, partnership and people
Ferranti steps into the CEO role after his promotion to company president in April of 2018. Together with Gisel and the company’s executive team, he’s led the growth of Rich’s global footprint, which spans six continents, operating in more than 100 countries and 40 manufacturing facilities around the world.
Reflecting on their decades-long relationship, Gisel offered, “Richard and I have worked closely together since the start of our global expansion 30 years ago. Navigating the complex nature of a global business—especially in a diverse industry like food—is a formidable challenge. With his vast experience and exceptional leadership skills, Richard is the ideal candidate to assume this important role.”
As Ferranti prepares to step into his new position, he shares his perspective on what sets Rich’s apart.
“As a global organization, one of Rich’s greatest differentiators is our customer-focused, Act Local, Be Global strategy. That means leveraging our global footprint to provide our customers with expert insight and guidance in the places we work every day,” Ferranti remarked. “With great momentum, we will continue to focus on those who fuel our business: our customers and our people. Bill has provided perhaps the greatest example of executive leadership at the highest level. I’m incredibly humbled and grateful to be named the next CEO of this extraordinary family-owned business.”
Succession planning matters
Succession planning is a key part of Rich’s long-term business strategy and an area where Rich’s has devoted time, energy and focus for decades. Company leaders note that CEO succession discussions started well before Gisel was appointed to his role in 2006 and were frequent throughout his tenure.
“Proactive succession planning is essential to the sustainability and growth of any organization,” said Mindy Rich, vice chair, Rich Products. “At Rich’s, it’s even more critical, as it’s directly linked to our family mandate of achieving long-term success as a family-owned business. With this leadership team backed by a talented group of associates around the world, there’s no limit to what we can achieve together.”
Ferranti and Gisel have jointly designed a detailed transition plan which they are implementing over the balance of 2019. “Our objective is to effect a seamless transition that reinforces our current momentum and strategic focus,” Gisel commented. After the January 1 transition date, Gisel will focus on corporate strategy, long term growth and organizational excellence for the broad-based Rich’s enterprise.
Rich’s, poised to celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2020, is known for its focus on customers, associates and communities.
More about Bill Gisel
Gisel joined Rich’s in 1982 as the company’s first general counsel. During his tenure, he’s served in wide ranging key leadership roles, including spearheading the company’s international expansion and ultimate transformation into a global entity. In 1996, he became president and COO and was named CEO in 2006. Under his tenure, Rich’s has more than quadrupled in size, while continuing to expand globally.
Gisel earned his MBA from the University of Rochester William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration, a Juris Doctorate from the Emory University School of Law and his bachelor’s degree from Williams College.
More about Richard Ferranti
Ferranti rose up the ranks of Rich’s after joining the company in 1986. Early in his tenure, he worked in a series of sales and marketing roles, each serving to expand his knowledge and responsibility across Rich’s global footprint. In 1997, he became president of the company’s International Business Group, and then president of its North America Business Group, before his promotion to COO in 2012.
He earned his MBA from the State University of New York at Buffalo and his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Canisius College. He is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program, which brings together political and business leaders from around the world.