PHOENIX – John W. Teets, a self-made businessman who served as chief executive officer for the Phoenix-based Dial and Greyhound corporations in the 1980s and 1990s, has died. He was 77.
Teets died Friday night at his Paradise Valley home of complications from Alzheimer’s disease, according to family friend Steve Roman.
“He’s a giant, in my mind,” said Joe Fassler, who worked with him from 1976 until Teets’ retirement in 1997. “He defined leadership. He was a no-nonsense guy and a very, very energetic manager. I was in awe of him.”
Teets, who grew up in Chicago and was a partner in a successful suburban entertainment complex, joined the Greyhound Corp. in 1963 to help develop the restaurants at the company’s subsidiary operating at the New York World’s Fair.
He became president of two food service subsidiaries in 1965 at age 32, the youngest subsidiary chief operation officer in Greyhound’s history. Teets went on to become president and CEO of Greyhound Food Management and group vice president of food service for the corporation in 1975.
Company officials said the food service group grew 60 percent over the next four years. Teets in 1980 oversaw units involved in aircraft ground services, cruise ship gift shops, airport duty-free shops and their service businesses.
Teets was elected vice chairman of the Greyhound Corp. and to the board of directors in 1980. He was named chairman and CEO of Armour & Co., then a Greyhound subsidiary, and became Greyhound’s CEO in October 1981.
Over the next decade, Teets restructured Greyhound from a giant conglomerate into a streamlined company. He sold the Armour meatpacking company in 1983 to ConAgra for $2 billion, but retained the consumer products business, which became known as the Dial Consumer Products Group.