The Dial Corporation is a maker of personal care and household cleaning products based in Scottsdale, Arizona. It began as a brand of deodorant soap manufactured by Armour and Company, the legendary Chicago meatpacking firm, and through a series of mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, emerged by the 2000s as a stand-alone leading personal care and household cleaning products company. The company's namesake, Dial soap, remains one of its major brands. In 2004, the company was bought by Henkel KGaA, a German consumer products firm. The current CEO of the company, Bradley Andrew Casper, joined the company in 2005 at the age of only 45.
Dial was the first deodorant or antibacterial soap introduced in the USA. It was developed by chemists from Armour and Company, a leading Chicago meat processing firm (and for decades one of Chicago's signature companies), and introduced in the Chicago market in 1948. (Armour had been producing soap since 1888; soap was made from tallow, a by-product of the meat production process.) The name Dial was chosen because the soap advertised "'round-the-clock" protection against the odor caused by perspiration. Demand for this new soap exceeded expectations due to its deodorant effectiveness, its non-medicinal clover-like smell and bright golden yellow color. The brand was rolled out nationally in 1949, and in time became the leading deodorant soap brand in the USA.
Because of the popularity and strong sales of Dial soap, fueled by magazine, radio and television advertising, Armour and Company became known by the 1960s as Armour-Dial. In 1970, intercity transit company Greyhound Lines, as part of a diversification strategy, purchased Armour-Dial for $400 million and relocated its headquarters to Phoenix, Arizona the following year. It was for a time known as Greyhound-Dial.
In 1987 the company sold the Greyhound bus operations in the wake of bitter labor disputes. In 1989, a 24-story corporate headquarters tower was built just north of downtown Phoenix for $83 million. The company became known by its present name by 1990. For a time, the Dial Corporation was a minority investor in Phoenix's NBA basketball team, the Phoenix Suns.
In 1996, the Dial Corporation divested itself of all products except for the personal and household care brands, and relocated its headquarters from central Phoenix to northeast suburban Scottsdale (close to its existing research facility). The remaining portions of the business stayed in the headquarters tower (to this day) and was called VIAD Corporation.
In April 2004, the company was bought by Henkel KGaA, an international consumer product company headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany.
On March 1, 2006, The Dial Corporation completed the transaction to sell its foods business for $183 million to Pinnacle Foods of Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The foods business, the direct descendant of the original Armour business, which produces shelf-stable canned meat products (such as potted meat and Vienna sausages) and ready meals under the Armour brand, had sales of approximately $230 million in fiscal 2005.