DAYTON, OHIO — Clay Mathile, former chief executive officer of The Iams Company, died Aug. 26 at the age of 82. According to a statement from the Mathile family, he passed peacefully in his home near Dayton, surrounded by family.

“Clay was a visionary leader, impassioned philanthropist, devoted husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend,” the Mathile family said in a statement. “He profoundly changed the lives of many through his generous heart, his entrepreneurial spirit, and his unwavering belief in others.”

In 1970, Mathile moved his family to Dayton, where he would partner with Paul F. Iams, founder of Iams Food Company. Twelve years later, Mathile and his wife, MaryAnn, assumed full ownership of The Iams Company upon Paul Iams’ retirement, and Mathile became CEO of the company.

According to Mathile’s biography, The Iams Company’s sales totaled $13 million in 1982 when Paul retired. Under Mathile’s leadership, the company grew into a billion-dollar brand before it was sold to Procter & Gamble in 1999 for $2.3 billion.

During his leadership tenure at The Iams Company, Mathile established a belief system that continues to guide the company today: Customer, Culture, Products, People (CCPP). The moniker eventually became known as “The Iams Way,” according to Mathile’s memorial website.

Upon selling The Iams Company to Proctor & Gamble just before the turn of the century, Mathile shifted his career focus to mentorship and philanthropy. He established Aileron, a nonprofit aimed at fostering the development of small business leaders and “improving the quality of life in America.” Aileron remains in business today, reportedly welcoming 15,000 business leaders to its 114-acre campus in Tripp City, Ohio, annually.

The Mathile Family Foundation was founded in 1987 and is described as “a multi-generational philanthropic foundation,” serving children and families in need across the Miani Valley in Ohio, according to its website. The family donated more than $500 million following the sale of The Iams Company in 1999, which benefited the area’s development projects and other organizations with similar missions.

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