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Dan Butler, longtime CSC CEO, dies at 87

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Dan Butler, seen here being inducted into the Delaware Business Hall of Fame in 2013, died unexpectedly Feb. 5. | PHOTO COURTESY OF CSC

WILMINGTON – The former longtime CSC CEO Daniel R. Butler died unexpectedly Friday, Feb. 5, at age 87.

Butler, a resident of nearby Media, Pa., served at the helm of one of the nation’s largest incorporation and business services firms for 38 years and was still serving as an emeritus member of its board of directors at the time of his passing. He reportedly participated in the company’s board meeting just last month.

CSC, known as Corporation Service Company during Butler’s tenure, was more than 75 years old when he took over as CEO in 1975. At the time, however, it was still a small firm of about 12 employees primarily focused on local incorporations.

Butler, a finance expert who had previously worked for future Vanguard founder Jack Bogle and later started his own money market fund newsletter, quickly set about a transformation of the small company.

“Dan would challenge us to think and rethink what we were working on,” then-CSC Vice President Mark Rosser said of Butler in 2013. “He always felt that we were well-situated to break out of the standard registered agent business, and, if we built a strong and powerful organization and culture, we would be able to accomplish anything.”

During his tenure, CSC acquired six companies, including competitor Prentice Hall Legal & Financial Services, which alone tripled the company’s size. He also helped drive CSC to pioneer the adoption of the internet as a business and legal services platform.

Today, CSC employs more than 2,800 people in offices worldwide and offers a range of business, legal, tax, and digital brand services to companies around the globe. It proudly works with a reported 90% of Fortune 500 companies.

On Monday, current CSC CEO Rod Ward said Butler was a leader not just for the company but for its employees as well.

“Dan was the role model of role models. If each of us could live up to even half of his example, we would all be better for it. He set the standard for others to follow. Dan was truly the epitome of dignity and humility,” he said in a statement. “Dan drove our culture, the culture we still have at CSC today, to believe, together, we can accomplish anything.”

In 2013, the year that he stepped down from the chief executive seat, Butler was inducted into the Delaware Business Leaders Hall of Fame, which recognizes “outstanding business leaders whose strategic management, invention, and innovation have positively impacted workforce and economic development in the region.”

Rob Eppes, president of the Junior Achievement of Delaware Inc., which operates the hall of fame, recalled that Butler continued to connect with the nonprofit long after he was inducted.

“Dan’s grandfatherly affirmation and praise was certainly not something I sought, but it was born naturally out of our conversations. That’s just the way Dan was. It often came at times when I needed it most … when I was acting to address an obstacle or when I had neglected to celebrate an accomplishment,” Eppes said. “Dan seemed to know just the right time to call. He will be missed.”

Butler is survived by his wife of 60 years, Linda Zehring Butler, his four children, and 11 grandchildren. Due to the pandemic, there are no plans for a service at this time.

His family suggested memorial donations in his name be made to the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, where he served as a board member, or Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio, his alma mater, where he also met his wife.

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