William A. “Bill” Gillon, former counsel for the National Cotton Council and an expert on trade issues, has been named president and CEO of the Cotton Board, the organization that oversees the collection and disbursement of the cotton checkoff.

Currently the principal of Gillon & Associates, PLLC, in Memphis, Gillon has been an observer for the NCC at most of the agricultural negotiations of the ongoing Doha Round of the WTO and has written extensively on those and other trade matters. 

Gillon’s selection was announced by Cotton Board Chairman Craig Shook, a producer from Corpus Christi, Texas. Gillon replaces Drayton Meyer, who also worked on trade issues for the Cotton Council before joining the Cotton Board.

Shared goals

Bill brings an outstanding record of achievement and service within the cotton industry to the Cotton Board,” said Shook. “He is respected throughout agriculture as well as USDA. He shares our goal of ensuring the Cotton Research and Promotion Program is utilized to increase consumption and enhance demand of cotton for the benefit of brands, retailers and cotton producers.”

Prior to serving as general counsel to the NCC, Gillon was senior counsel for the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry of the U.S. Senate and was an attorney in the Office of General Counsel at USDA. Gillon has also served as an official advisor to the U.S. Government on agricultural trade matters and as a board member of several local organizations.

Gillon has worked on the cutting edge of legal and business developments in agriculture and has experience with new innovations, like electronic warehouse receipts, precision agriculture, genetically enhanced commodities and organic agriculture.

His legal work for the cotton industry includes defending the Cotton Research & Promotion Program from constitutional challenges and representing the industry in the World Trade Organization case brought against the U.S. cotton program by Brazil.

Trade legislation

While in Washington, DC, Gillon wrote significant pieces of agriculture, agricultural trade, and conservation legislation and regulations implementing important conservation and agriculture programs.

Gillon’s long association with the cotton industry played a key role in his selection, said Shook. “We were also intent on selecting a CEO who understood the mission of the Cotton Board and who could craft a long-term vision for our organization. With Gillon’s leadership, I am confident the Cotton Board will rise to meet new challenges and will ensure our research and promotion program continues to be the best in the world.”

Gillon will begin his new role as the Cotton Board’s CEO on Oct. 18.

For more information about the Cotton Board, visit www.cottonboard.org.