scoring_index=2745520812619219860scoring_index=2745520812619219860John W. Teets | Official Biographyscoring_index=2745520812619219860
John Teets Dial Greyhound Official Biography

John W. Teets was one of Arizona's and the country's most influential business and community leaders. His legacy is of entrepreneurship and leadership to the state of Arizona, the country, and internationally. His impact on and deep commitment to Phoenix and greater Arizona spans four decades filled with business and philanthropic success.

John Teets was a self-made businessman who rose to be the CEO of one of the nation's most successful Fortune 500 corporations. He led a multi-billion dollar conglomerate with 48,000 employees and reshaped it into one of the world's leading consumer goods and services companies. He recognized that in order to keep up in a fast-paced world, readjustment is vital for a company to survive. Whatever the product or service, John was a hands-on CEO who concentrated heavily on the bottom line.

John began his illustrious business career as an entrepreneur. By age 29, he was a partner in an entertainment complex in suburban Chicago, which housed 16 shops, an ice-skating rink and a 300-seat restaurant. This entrepreneurial background launched his success in the corporate world. John Teets joined the Greyhound Corporation in 1963 to help develop the restaurants at Greyhound's Post House subsidiary at the New York World's Fair.

In 1965, at age 32, he became president of two food service subsidiaries, Post House and Horne's Enterprises, the youngest subsidiary chief operation officer in Greyhound history. He eventually went on to become president and chief executive officer of Greyhound Food Management and group vice president of food service for the Greyhound Corporation in 1975. During that time, the food service group grew 60 percent over the next four years. He was assigned added duties as group vice president of services in 1980 to oversee units involved in aircraft ground services, cruise ship gift shops, airport duty-free shops and their service businesses.

John was elected vice chairman of the Greyhound Corporation and to the board of directors in 1980. He was soon named chairman and CEO of Armour & Company, then a Greyhound subsidiary. In October 1981, John became CEO of the Greyhound Corporation and was elected chairman of the board in 1982. Over the next ten years, John Teets restructured the Greyhound Corporation from a giant conglomerate into a streamlined company. By doing this he made the company more manageable and profitable and more attractive to investors. He sold Armour in 1983 to ConAgra for $2 billion, but retained the consumer products business, which became known as the Dial Consumer Products Group.

In early 1996, John completed the final piece of his strategic restructuring plan for the company. Dial was divided into two independent, publicly traded entities. One was comprised of its well-known $1.6 billion consumer products business, the Dial Corporation, and the other its $2.5 billion service business, the Viad Corp. Viad is made up of the service businesses of the former Dial and included convention service, airline catering, financial payment services, and travel and leisure businesses. John's reshaping of Dial was a success. From 1991 to 1995, Dial stock outperformed the S&P 500 by almost 50 percent. Dial researchers have also estimated that eight out of every ten U.S. homes contain at least one of the company's products. At the time, Dial items were sold in 78 countries and were manufactured in 14 U.S. plants and one plant in Mexico. Dial's service companies, which contributed 47 percent of the corporation's total revenues, become industry leaders. Greyhound Leisure Services was the world's largest operator of duty-free shops on cruise ships; Dobbs International Services was the largest domestic airline caterer; Travelers Express was the nation's largest seller of money orders, exceeding the U.S. Post Office, and GES Exposition Services became the largest convention operator in the U.S.

John served in the US Army Signal Corps in Stuttgart, Germany during the Korean War

John Teets was not only a successful businessperson; he was dedicated to the success of his community and made a noteworthy difference in the Valley and State. During his tenure as chairman of Dial, John oversaw contributions to charitable organizations throughout Arizona, which exceeded $36 million. In 1981, he created Dial's community giving program, which provided $5 million per year for hundreds of charities and community projects. As the general chairman of the Boys & Girls Club's 50th Anniversary Campaign in 1996, he helped raise over $5 million in a 10-month period. His efforts made possible the building of a new Boys & Girls Club in Avondale, Arizona, a scholarship fund, new computer labs and a $1 million endowment fund to ensure financial security for the Boys & Girls Club's programs and services.

Along with supporting charities and cultural activities, John also made efforts to ensure that Phoenix would continue to be a profitable and growing city. In 1987, he helped keep the NBA Phoenix Suns basketball team in the Valley, with a significant investment from Greyhound. As the CEO of Dial, he sponsored the TV rights for the Phoenix Open, and under his leadership, Dial stepped up to the plate to become the first corporate investor of the expansion Major League Baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. John Teets was a member of numerous business, professional and academic organizations, including the Business Roundtable, Conference Board and Presidents Association of the American Management Association. He also promoted significant public policy issues within the state including taking a leadership role in establishing a Victims' Rights Amendment to the Arizona Constitution in 1990. This was a landmark achievement that affords all victims of crimes with the opportunity to have a participatory role in the criminal justice system.


    … The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

- Theodore Roosevelt

Career Highlights and Awards

  • 1980

    Recipient of the IFMA Foodservice Operator Of The Year Silver Plate Award And Golden Plate Award

  • 1981

    Elected chairman and president of Armour and Company

  • 1981

    Elected CEO of the Greyhound Corporation

  • 1982

    Elected chairman of the Greyhound Corporation

  • 1982

    Trinity College Doctor Of Laws Honorary Degree

  • 1982

    Announced streamlining of Greyhound bus operations

  • 1983

    Established Premier Cruise Lines

  • 1983

    Announced Closing of Armor Food Company Plants

  • 1983

    Successfully negotiated end of Greyhound Lines drivers' strike

  • 1983

    Sold Armour and Company to Congara

  • 1985

    Purchased Purex Industries' consumer products division

  • 1985

    Recipient of the Wall Street Transcript Silver Award - Diversified Multi-Industry Companies

  • 1985

    Recipient of the Wall Street Transcript Silver Award - Best CEO Survey

  • 1986

    Recipient of Leaders Magazine Award - CEO Of The Year

  • 1986

    Sold Greyhound Capital Corporation

  • 1987

    Purchased General Motors' North American transit bus and parts business

  • 1987

    Named president of the Greyhound Corporation

  • 1987

    Purchased Dobbs International Services, Inc.

  • 1987

    Introduced Liquid Dial antibacterial soap

  • 1988

    Purchased 20 Mule Team Division household products business from U.S. Borax

  • 1988

    Divested bus service operation in the U.S. with sale of two regional bus lines

  • 1988

    Northwood Institute Outstanding Business Leaders Award

  • 1989

    Travelers Express Company, Inc. acquired Republic Money Orders

  • 1990

    Purchased Breck hair-care products

  • 1990

    Recipient of the Officer Of The Royal Order Of The Crown Brussels, Belgium

  • 1990

    Recipient of the Forbes Magazine Top Business Speaker Of The Year

  • 1990

    Company name changed to The Dial Corp

  • 1991

    Johnson & Wales University Honorary Doctor Of Business Administration In Food Service Management

  • 1991

    Acquired Crystal Holidays, Limited

  • 1991

    Honored as a "Captain of Achievement" by the American Academy of Achievement

  • 1992

    Western International University Honorary Doctor Of Commercial Science

  • 1992

    Spun off Greyhound Financial Corporation

  • 1993

    Acquired Renuzit air-freshener brand

  • 1993

    Dobbs International Services, Inc. purchased United Airlines Flight Kitchens

  • 1993

    Greyhound Exposition Services, Inc. (GES) purchased United Exposition Services Co.

  • 1993

    Public offering of shares of Motor Coach Industries Int'l, Inc. through an IPO

  • 1993

    GES Exposition Services, Inc. acquired Andrews, Bartlett & Associates, Inc. and Geico Convention Services, Inc.

  • 1994

    Announced two-for-one stock split

  • 1995

    GES Exposition Services, Inc. purchased Giltspur, Panex Show Services Ltd. and Stampede Display

  • 1995

    Recipient of Ellis Island Medal Of Honor

  • 1995

    Exhibitgroup purchased Giltspur

  • 1996

    GES Exposition Services, Inc. won contract for Atlanta Olympic Games

  • 1996

    Separated Greyhound Lines of Canada from The Dial Corp

  • 1996

    Spun-off of Dial into two separate companies: The Dial Corp - consumer products; and Viad Corp - Services

  • 1998

    Recipient of the 1998 Pioneer of the Year from Nation's Restaurant News

  • 2008

    Milton Friedman Transformational Leader Award