Bill Bain (consultant)

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Bill Bain
Bill Bain.jpg
Bill Bain in 1981
William Worthington Bain Jr.

July 30, 1937
DiedJanuary 16, 2018(2018-01-16) (aged 80)
Alma materVanderbilt University (BA)
OccupationConsultant, management expert
Known forBain & Company, Bain Capital

William Worthington Bain Jr. (July 30, 1937 – January 16, 2018)[1] was an American management consultant, known for his role as one of the founders of the management consultancy that bears his name, Bain & Company.[2][3] Prior to founding Bain & Company, he was a vice-president at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).[2]

Early life[edit]

William Bain was born on July 30, 1937,[4][5] in Johnson City, Tennessee, to William Worthington Bain Sr. and his wife, Ruby Kathleen Bain (born Cloyd).[6][2][3][7] His father was a small food wholesaler who had little formal education[8] and came from a farming family with eleven siblings.[4] He graduated from Science Hill High School in 1955.[5]

Later, he attended East Tennessee State College with major in engineering,[4] for two years before transferring to Vanderbilt University, where he was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.[2] He graduated in 1959, earning Phi Beta Kappa honors, with a degree in history.[2][3][9] He then got married and became a father.[2] He did graduate work in history at Vanderbilt as a Woodrow Wilson Scholar in 1960.[2][3]


Bain briefly worked at a steel fabricating company, where he'd held summer jobs,[10] before returning to Vanderbilt in 1960 to work as the school's director of development at the age of 26.[10][2] In this capacity, he met Bruce Henderson, the founder of the Boston Consulting Group.[2] After meeting Henderson, Bain agreed and chose to join BCG in 1967 at a starting salary of $17,000 per year.[2][8]

In the early 1970s, Bain was considered internally at Boston Consulting Group to be Henderson's eventual successor. However, in 1973 Bain resigned from BCG to start his own strategy consulting firm.[2] Bain quickly recruited Black & Decker and Texas Instruments, two BCG clients, as his own clients,[2] and hired away six of BCG's employees. Bain's new company diverged from other consulting firms of the time by focusing on longer assignments.[2] He also sought to develop close relations with the companies, helping not only to devise strategy but also to implement it.[2] He also promised not to represent more than one client per industry,[2][11] and for many years would only accept assignments that reported to the client's CEO.

He formed Bain Capital, a private equity firm, in 1984,[3] and appointed Mitt Romney, one of the partners at Bain & Company, to be Bain Capital's first CEO.[9]

After leaving Bain, he was chairman of the board of Bain Willard Companies, L. P., which he co-founded in 1993 with Ralph R. Willard, President of Bain.[3][9] He was also a director of Hinckley Yachts.[3][9]

Charitable work[edit]

Bain was a longtime trustee of several children’s charities in Boston, including Children’s Hospital Boston, The Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston and the Posse Foundation.[3][9] He also served on the board of trust of Vanderbilt University.[3][9] and was a trustee of the Naples Children and Education Foundation in Naples, Florida from 2002 until his death.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Bain was married three times and fathered four children.[7][9]

He had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease and died aged 80 at his home in Florida in early 2018.[5][7][8][6]


  1. ^ "William "Bill" Bain, Jr. (1937–2018)". Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Homes. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Gallese, Liz Roman (September 24, 1989). "Counselor To The King". The New York Times. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Wine Festival 2008: McNulty/Bain". Naples Daily News. January 28, 2008. Archived from the original on October 30, 2012. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Kiechel 2010, p. 75.
  5. ^ a b c "Obituary William Bain Jr. 1937–2018". January 17, 2018. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Kelly, Kate (January 18, 2018). "William Bain Jr., 80, Business Consultant and Romney Mentor, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c Chesto, Jon (January 18, 2018). "Bain & Co. founder Bill Bain dies at age 80". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on February 2, 2018. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  8. ^ a b c Hagerty, James R. (January 17, 2018). "William Bain Jr. Founded Consulting and Private-Equity Firms, and Groomed Mitt Romney". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g "Board of Trust: William W. Bain Jr". Vanderbilt University. Archived from the original on June 8, 2011. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  10. ^ a b Kiechel 2010, p. 76.
  11. ^ Emmons, Garry, ed. (March 2010). "Lords of Strategy: Inventing Business's Great Game". Alumni Bulletin. Harvard Business School. Retrieved May 26, 2011.


  • Kiechel, Walter (2010). The Lords of Strategy: The Secret Intellectual History of the New Corporate World. Harvard Business Press. ISBN 978-1-5913-9782-3.