Romney mentor, Bain & Co. founder, William Bain Jr. dies

William Bain Jr., the founder of global consulting and private equity businesses bearing his name who helped drive the career of former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, has died. He was 80.

Bain died Tuesday at his home in Naples, Florida, according to his obituary. No cause of death was given.

He founded Bain & Co., a corporate strategy consulting firm in 1973, and in 1984 founded the private equity firm Bain Capital.

"Bill's enduring influence is as vibrant today as when he and a few colleagues first took the leap to start Bain & Company 45 years ago," Bain & Co. said in a statement Thursday. "His focus on client results over just good recommendations was revolutionary at the time. His vision of a more productive client relationship was profound, and he understood deeply the power of a community of extraordinary teams."

Romney served as Bain Capital's chief executive.

"It's hard for me to imagine my life and career without Bill Bain's mentoring,'" Romney said in a statement to The Boston Globe. "He hired me, taught me and gave me the opportunity of a lifetime. His vision and confidence made Bain Capital possible."

Bain was born in Johnson City, Tennessee, and attended East Tennessee State College for two years before transferring to Vanderbilt University, graduating in 1959 with a degree in history.

He joined the Vanderbilt development office, eventually becoming the school's director of development, where he caught the eye of Bruce Henderson, a Vanderbilt alumnus and founder of the Boston Consulting Group. Henderson recognized Bain's talent despite his lack of business experience, and Bain moved to Boston in 1967 to join BCG.

Bain was a philanthropist and a longtime trustee of several children's organizations in both Massachusetts and Florida, including Children's Hospital Boston, The Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, and the Naples Children and Education Foundation.

He had homes in Weston and Falmouth, Massachusetts.

He is survived by his wife and four children. Memorial services are being planned in Naples and Boston.