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William Bain, founder of Bain & Co., dies at 80

William Bain Jr.

William Bain Jr., founder of management consulting firm Bain & Co. and alternative investment manager Bain Capital, died Tuesday at his home in Naples, Fla., at the age of 80, according to an online death notice from the Chapman Cole & Gleason funeral home.

The cause of death was not listed.

“Earlier this week, we lost one of our community's most beloved business leaders, Bill Bain. To those who knew him and beyond, Bill stood as a generous philanthropist and accomplished business leader who left an indelible mark on the companies he affiliated with and the organizations who enjoyed the benefit of his leadership,” Bain Capital's managing directors said in a written statement.

Mr. Bain graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1959 with a degree in history, earning Phi Beta Kappa honors and a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. He eventually became Vanderbilt's director of development. Bruce Henderson, a Vanderbilt alum and founder of the Boston Consulting Group hired Mr. Bain, despite his lack of business education or significant business experience.

Mr. Bain left BCG in February 1973 and founded Bain & Co., a corporate strategy consulting firm. He founded private equity firm Bain Capital in 1984. Bain Capital now has about $85 billion in assets under management.

In the early 1990s, Mr. Bain transitioned out of leadership of both firms and then co-founded Bain, Willard Cos., a boutique private equity firm.

“Bill's support, especially during Bain Capital's early years, was crucial to the successful launch and growth of our firm. We will forever appreciate how generous he was with his time as a mentor,” according to Bain Capital's managing directors statement.

Mr. Bain is survived by his wife, Ann Dean Bain; his four children, William Bain III, Adam Bain, Alexander Bain and Samantha Bain. He is also survived by his brother, Larry Bain.

Memorial services are being planned for a future date in Naples, Fla., and Boston. In lieu of flowers, donations in his honor are suggested to be made to the Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer's Support Network (Naples, Fla.), Boston Children's Hospital and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston.