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36 Intriguing Delawareans • Rod Ward

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You might have seen the gleaming, new 148,000-square-foot HQ off Lancaster Pike. Maybe you chatted with employees—almost 1,000 in Delaware, and growing 100 or so a year. Or saw the rebranding from Corporation Service Co. to CSC, with a snazzy infinity-style symbol reflecting client relationships.

CSC is on a tear under CEO Rod Ward. From 2010 to 2015 it doubled in value. “By 2020, we will double in value again,” its site says. “Value is much more than financial performance. It’s the value we bring to customers,” he says, noting accompanying growth in locations, employees and customers.

It calls itself “the business behind the business” in providing business, legal, tax and digital brand services to more than 90 percent of the Fortune 500, more than half of Interbrand’s Best Global Brands, nearly 10,000 law firms and more than 3,000 financial organizations. A corporate video says it files, records, retrieves, compiles, stores, organizes, represents, searches, programs and manages stuff.    

It was founded in 1899 by attorneys Christopher Ward (Rod is a great-grandson) and Josiah Marvel to simplify how corporations were formed, ran and complied with laws. It grew beyond Delaware in 1990 by acquiring a Florida firm and over the next two decades made about two acquisitions each year.

Growth in Delaware has reflected—and is expected to continue that way—typical headquarters operations and “the substantial impact of technology,” he says. “We’re beginning to handle information services, data management and workflow.” CSC has been named one of Delaware’s Top Workplaces for 10 consecutive years by Workplace Dynamics and The News Journal.

Ward wants to “create an environment that we’re better tomorrow than we are today, for employees, customers and the community.” He called the new building “a home run” for it, with a green roof and a walking track (he’s an outdoorsman, who enjoys hiking and sea kayaking) and technology to connect it to 2,600 employees in 50-plus locations in 17 countries.

“The company ethos is to support the community, and I try to emulate that. I’m passionate about improving education in Delaware,” he says, citing an earlier stint on the board of EastSide Charter School, service on the boards of the Rodel Foundation of Delaware and University of Delaware’s John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance and support of UD’s library associates. “I have a passion for the state and giving back.”

CSC itself supports more than 100 nonprofits in Delaware and around the world (including Delaware Theatre Company, the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Teach for America and Zip Code Wilmington), from providing volunteers to holding board positions.

After earning a bachelor’s in science in geology and economics from Middlebury College in 1987 and a master’s in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1992, he started his career at FMC, in business development; Snap-on Tools, in operations; and Speakman, in the executive suite. Ward, 52, feels those 18 years elsewhere offered a good opportunity “to learn how business works, have different roles and have unique experiences,” including living in Germany.

He is the chairman of the board of Speakman, a plumbing business associated with his mother’s family. He joined the CSC board in 1994 and was elected CEO in 2010. He’s on the Delaware Public Policy Institute, the World Affairs Council of Wilmington and the Delaware Theatre Company boards.

Rod Ward//Photo by Carlos Alejandro

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