William (Bill) A.V. Cecil, Jr.
President and CEO
The Biltmore Company
William Amherst Vanderbilt Cecil, Jr. is the President and CEO of The Biltmore Company, which he owns and operates Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina. A National Historic Landmark, Biltmore is the private estate of the late George W. Vanderbilt, Cecil’s great-grandfather. The estate, which is completely self-sufficient and receives no outside funding, is open to the public and welcomes over 1,400,000 guests annually.
The estate includes Biltmore House, America’s largest private home, designed by renowned 19th century architect Richard Morris Hunt. Frederick Law Olmsted, known as “The Father of American Landscape Architecture,” designed the gardens and forests surrounding Biltmore House. Biltmore also features the most visited winery in the United States, producing about 150,000 cases of award-winning wines each year. In addition,The Inn on Biltmore Estate, Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate and Cottage on Biltmore Estate welcome guests year-round with gracious Vanderbilt hospitality. There are retail shops and fine restaurants, as well, to make any visit to Biltmore more enjoyable. In addition to these offerings, guests can take advantage of the great outdoors with biking, hiking, rafting and equestrian activities.
Cecil has served in many capacities across the estate, including his work as project coordinator for the construction of Biltmore’s winery; eventually becoming winery manager, then president of the Biltmore Wine Company. He has also served as assistant vice president of operations, vice president and senior vice president of The Biltmore Company. He is a member of The Biltmore Company Executive Committee and its Board of Directors.
Community relations is another important focus for Cecil, and he has served on the Western North Carolina Regional Advisory Board for Wells Fargo since 2007. He has served on the General Hugh Shelton Leadership Center Board of Advisors since 2012 and the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce Board beginning in January 2013. He served on the board of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce (1997-2009), including the office of chairman (2007/2008). In addition, Cecil served on the Southeast Tourism Society Board of Directors (2005-2008) and was a member of the Manna Food Bank Board of Directors (2000-2006), including holding the office of President (2005).
A graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder, Cecil earned a degree in environmental conservation. He is also a graduate of Harvard Business School’s yearly YPO/WPO seminar (2009-12), member of Leadership Asheville 8, the Young Executive Institute (an intensive senior management training program at the University of North Carolina), Bell Leadership Institute’s Leader’s Roundtable program, and he has been a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization/World Presidents’ Organization since 1998. Cecil and his wife have three children and reside in Asheville, North Carolina.
The mission statement of The Biltmore Company: “The preservation of Biltmore as a privately owned, profitable working estate” remains the standard for guiding Cecil’s efforts to enchant guests and to maintain the business of preservation.