The head of textile giant Guilford Mills Inc on Monday paid tribute to its flamboyant chairman Charles "Chuck" Hayes, who died on Sunday aged 68.
 
"Everyone at Guilford Mills is immensely grateful for Chuck's dedication and devotion to the company and its associates," said president and CEO John Emrich in a statement.

"He not only championed Guilford Mills, but the entire textile industry and numerous non-profit and community organisations. His contributions will not be forgotten and we will keep his family in our prayers."

Hayes played an instrumental role in building Guilford Mills into a major competitor in the textile industry, providing opportunities for the company's thousands of associates.

He was also one of the industry's most outspoken advocates, lobbying state and federal governments for the protection and growth of the textile industry in a rapidly changing economy.

Hayes began his career with Guilford Mills in 1961 running the company's dyeing and finishing operation and rose through the management ranks of the company, serving as chairman of the board of directors for 26 years until his death.