William (Bill) Raaths
Bill Raaths is listed on Forbes.com’s home page as one of the world’s business leaders. You wouldn’t know this when striking up a conversation with the Green Bay native, whose first paying job was selling beer at Lambeau Field during the Ice Bowl. Since those early days, you can say that Raaths’ career has been on a hot streak.
From a young age he knew he liked working with people and wanted to run a business – it didn’t matter what type. He did a great job predicting his career, as he has held executive positions in varied industries, including consumer products, paper and frozen appetizers/snack foods.
After earning a degree in business from UW Madison in 1969, Raaths served three years in the Army in Vietnam. When he returned to the States to begin his career at Fort Howard paper in Green Bay, he decided to return to college to receive his masters of business administration degree. He chose UW Oshkosh College of Business because of its “excellent reputation as a business school.” He earned his degree in 1974 and credits his experience pursuing his masters for giving him skills to become a business leader.
Raaths left Fort Howard in 1979 to pursue a position in business development at Philip Morris. He became director of marketing and development in 1982 and vice president of marketing and finance three years later. In 1989, he was named president of Chesapeake Consumer Products Company, the parent company of Wisconsin Tissue. From 1995 to 1999, he served as executive vice president for Chesapeake Corporation and group president of Wisconsin Tissue.
In 1999, Raaths switched industries again and became president and chief executive officer for Anchor Food Products, a privately-owned $500 million frozen Appetizer Company. In 2001, Anchor was acquired by McCain Snack Foods, where he served as chief executive officer until 2002. In September 2002, Raaths became CEO of Great Northern Corporation, providing the strategic and operational direction for one of the premier, high-end packaging companies in the Midwest.
Raaths serves on the Board of Directors for Great Northern Corporation, First National
Bank – Fox Cities, Badger Paper Mills and United Paper. He also contributes his time as a member of the Fox River Authority whose goal is to open the Fox River locks and on the Board of Directors of St. Elizabeth Hospital Foundation, the YMCA-Fox Cities and Valley Packaging Industries. Bill has also taught undergraduate courses in strategic management at UW-Oshkosh.
He lives with his wife, Natalie, in Menasha. They have two adult children and one grandchild. He enjoys the time he spends teaching strategy at UW Oshkosh and credits Al Hartman, College Dean, as an individual who has had a major influence on his life and career. When his career hot streak turns to retirement, he hopes he will be known as “a good guy that did right by people.”