A Procter & Gamble Co. representative said former company CEO John Smale, 84, died Saturday in Cincinnati. No immediate details regarding his death were revealed.

Smale's tenure at Cincinnati-based P&G began in 1952, in the toilet-goods division. He became the company's president in 1974, CEO in 1981, and chairman in 1986. He relinquished the CEO title in 1990.

Smale also served as chairman of the General Motors Co. from 1992 to 1995.

According to the P&G Web site, Smale is credited with persuading the American Dental Association to promote Crest, a dental product. Smale's move long ago to open businesses in developing markets laid the foundation for P&G's rapid growth in recent years. During his tenure as CEO, its earnings and sales both more than doubled, to $1.6 billion and over $24 billion, respectively.

We've made watershed changes at P&G ... they will bear fruit well into the next decade, Smale said when he stepped down as CEO. And they did.

Smale was acclaimed not only for his business acumen but also for his passionate, kind, and humble nature. In the words of John E. Pepper, CEO of P&G from 1995 to 1999, John brought together wisdom and courage, concern for people, and commitment to the long term in a manner I've never seen exceeded.

Born in Listowel, Ontario, Smale graduated from Miami University (Ohio) in 1949 and married his late wife Phyllis the following year. A resident of Marathon, Fla., Smale spent much of his retirement fly-fishing, according to The Associated Press. Smale is survived by four children, John Gray Jr., Catherine Anne, Lisa Beth, and Peter McKee, according to P&G.