William "Bill" Bain Jr. died peacefully at home surrounded by his family on January 16, 2018 in Naples, FL at the age of 80.
A proud Tennessean, Bill was born on July 30, 1937 in Johnson City, TN to William Worthington Bain and Ruby Kathleen Bain. He graduated from Science Hill High School in 1955 and went on to attend East Tennessee State for two years before transferring to Vanderbilt University. He graduated from Vanderbilt in 1959 with a degree in History, earning Phi Beta Kappa honors and a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship.
After college, Bill used his fellowship to do graduate work in history at Vanderbilt. It was not long before he changed paths and joined the Vanderbilt development office, eventually becoming the school’s director of development. It was in that role that Bill’s ability to connect quickly with CEO alumni of Vanderbilt caught the eye of Bruce Henderson, a Vanderbilt alum and founder of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Despite Bill’s lack of business education or significant business experience, Bruce recognized Bill’s enormous talent and asked him to join BCG. Bill accepted the offer and moved to Boston in 1967, the year he always noted as the Red Sox “Impossible Dream” season.
After much success at BCG, Bill started to see a need for business strategy consultants who could provide their clients with long-term measurable results. With that in mind, he left in February of 1973 and founded Bain & Company, a corporate strategy consulting firm. Bain & Company has since grown from 8 consultants in its first year to over 8,000 today, spread across 55 offices globally. Bain & Company is regularly voted one of the best employers in the world to work for.
In 1984, Bill founded Bain Capital, a private equity firm. Bain Capital now has over $85B under management and a controlling interest in a number of large private and public companies.
By the early-1990’s Bill had transitioned leadership of both firms. He then co-founded Bain, Willard Companies, a boutique private equity firm through which he became an owner and Executive Board Member of Hinckley Yacht Holdings.
In 1999, Bill was listed in Boston Business Journal as “one of Greater Boston’s 100 most influential business people in the 20th century.”
Bill was a longtime, active trustee of several children’s organizations in the Boston area, including Children’s Hospital Boston, The Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, the Posse Foundation and The Meadowbrook School. He was also a proud, 30-year Trustee of his alma mater Vanderbilt University and a lifetime Trustee of the Naples Children and Education Foundation in Naples, FL.
A devoted family man, Bill loved to gather relatives and friends together for holidays and summer barbeques at his harborside home in Woods Hole, MA. He was an avid tennis player who shifted his passion to golf in retirement. He was a member of The Woods Hole Golf Club, Woods Hole, MA, The Old Sandwich Golf Club, Plymouth, MA, The Old Collier Golf Club, Naples, FL and Royal Poinciana Golf Club, Naples at his passing. He was also a loyal Boston sports fan, who would often attend games at Fenway, Gillette and The “Garden”.
Bill is survived by his loving wife, Ann Dean Bain, of 20 years in Naples, FL and by his four children: William Bain III of San Francisco, CA; Adam Bain and his wife Mary of Los Angeles, CA; Alexander Bain, his wife Lisa, and their three children, Oliver, Dexter, and Daphne of Menlo Park, CA; Samantha Bain Enright and her husband Matthew of Boston, MA. He is also survived by his brother, Larry Bain, Larry’s wife Nanci, and their children Larry Lee Bain and Katie Bain Sullivan of Brandon, MS.
A Celebration of Life is being held on Friday, March 2, at 4:30pm, at the Old Collier Golf Club, 790 Main House Drive, Naples, FL. A Celebration of Life service, followed by reception, will also be held on Sunday, March 11, at 2:30pm at the Four Seasons Hotel, 200 Boylston Street, Boston, MA.
In lieu of flowers, and in celebration of Bill’s own philanthropic efforts, donations in his honor are suggested to be made to the following organizations: The Alzheimer’s Association, The Alzheimer’s Support Network (Naples, FL), Boston Children’s Hospital, and The Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston.