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Clayton Lee Mathile
January 11, 1941
Portage, Ohio, US
|Residence||Brookville, Ohio, US|
|Alma mater||Ohio Northern University|
|Net worth||$2.3 billion (March 2018)|
Clayton Lee Mathile (pronounced [Muh-til]), born January 11, 1941, is an American billionaire businessman, best known for leading Iams to nearly $1 billion in sales before selling it to Procter & Gamble (P&G) for $2.3 billion in 1999 in what was, at the time, the largest cash-only deal in P&G's history.
Early life and education
Mathile graduated at age 16 from Portage High School, ranking first in his class of 14 students. He also lettered in basketball and earned an honorable mention for the all-state team. He went on to attend Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, where he also played on the basketball team. He initially studied mechanical engineering before transferring to the business school. When an expected scholarship fell through, Mathile took a job pumping gas. Mathile graduated a quarter early in February 1962 with a business degree.
Mathile began his career as an accountant at a General Motors manufacturing plant in Toledo, Ohio. A year later, he joined the Campbell Soup Company, where he remained for seven years and held a series of positions in cost accounting, inventory control, and purchasing.
In 1970, Mathile accepted a leadership role at a small, regional pet food manufacturer: The Iams Food Company in Dayton, Ohio. To raise awareness of Iams' product, Mathile spent weekends at dog shows, handing out samples that his children helped him package in their basement. In 1975, after shortages of ingredients almost drove the company under, Mathile purchased a 50%-ownership interest in the company from founder and owner Paul Iams for $100,000. Mathile convinced Paul Iams that the company needed to build its own manufacturing plant.
During his early tenure, Mathile oversaw The Iams Company's rapid growth. Mathile purchased the remaining ownership shares from Iams in 1982, thus becoming its sole owner and CEO. At the time, the company had $13 million in sales.
From the outset, Mathile focused strongly on product quality, research and development, and customer outreach, including marketing efforts targeting pet owners, high-end breeders, and veterinarians. He offered a 100% money-back guarantee to any customer who wasn't satisfied and established a customer support department equipped to answer consumer questions about their pets — even on topics unrelated to pet food, such as handling grief over the loss of a pet. He also established a national distribution network. Insisting that vendors be paid within 30 days ensured that The Iams Company had the best supplies available — even during shortages. Mathile also honored Paul Iams' commitment to science by funding a new research and development center, which worked to ensure that dogs and cats received the best nutrition possible from Iams and Eukanuba.
Eventually, Mathile appointed the company's president and chief operating officer Tom MacLeod as CEO and became chairman of the board. By 1999, Mathile had grown The Iams Company to a 5.7% share of the U.S. pet food market and international sales of 100 different products in 75 countries. He sold the company to international conglomerate Procter & Gamble for $2.3 billion. He distributed $100 million of the sale proceeds among Iams employees, committed $100 million to fund large-scale, community projects in the Dayton area, and distributed portions to his adult children.
Mathile serves as a trustee on several nonprofit boards focused on education, medical innovation, and social justice.
Mathile and his family have started other businesses. They operate under the umbrella of Myrian Capital in Dayton, Ohio, founded and chaired by their youngest son, Mike Mathile.
Honors and awards
- Ohio Northern University, honorary doctorate in business, 1991
- Ernst & Young, Entrepreneur of the Year Award, National Finalist, 1999
- Ernst & Young, Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Supporter of Entrepreneurship Award Winner, South Central Ohio & Kentucky Region, 1999
- Dayton Business Journal, Regional Leader of the Year, 2008
- Better Business Bureau, Dayton Chapter, Inaugural Torch Award, 2010
- "Forbes profile: Clayton Mathile". Forbes. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
- Garrett, Echo (2008). Dream No Little Dreams. DNLD Publishing.
- Canedy, Dana (1999-08-12). "Procter & Gamble is buying maker of premium pet food". The New York Times.
- "Purchase of Iams is P&G's biggest". www.enquirer.com. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
- "40 Acre Farm - Dayton Daily News". Archived from the original on December 2, 2008.
- "Clay Mathile". onu.edu. 30 April 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
- "Iams Company - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Iams Company". www.referenceforbusiness.com. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
- "Iams Food - Paul Iams". The Boston Globe. 2004-11-05.
- "Sale of Iams Pet Food Company to Create $100 Million Endowment".