CSI Leasing Founder, Kenneth B. Steinback, DiesJuly 30, 2022
Kenneth B. Steinback, founder and chairman emeritus of CSI Leasing, Inc. (CSI), one of the world’s largest independent technology leasing companies, died on Saturday, July 30, 2022 at his home in Clayton, Mo., after multiple battles with cancer. He was 78.
Exactly 50 years ago, Ken co-founded “Computer Sales International, Inc.” as a computer reseller in Oklahoma with just four employees. Within a decade, the company’s business switched its focus to IT leasing, relocated its headquarters to St. Louis, Mo., Ken’s hometown, and he assumed the role of CEO. In 2005, the company changed its name to CSI Leasing, Inc. to better reflect its core business. Over the last five decades, CSI has grown to more than $2.3 billion in leased assets and 1,400 employees spanning four continents. CSI’s remarkable trajectory is a direct testament to Ken’s entrepreneurial spirit, integrity and passion for building relationships.
Ken always believed that the key to CSI’s success was its ability to evolve and grow over time. Recognizing the need to expand globally in order to serve international enterprise-level corporations, he first expanded the company to Canada in 1995, followed by the UK in 1999. Global expansion rapidly followed throughout Latin America, Europe and Asia. Today, the company leases equipment in more than 50 countries.
Ken was a visionary and realized early in his career the importance of maintaining control of the entire customer experience. In 1998, he purchased IT asset disposition (ITAD) specialist, EPC, Inc., to process and resell or recycle CSI’s lease returns. Since then, EPC’s growth has been in step with CSI’s. Today, EPC has 20 remarketing and recycling facilities across the Americas and Europe, processing more than 140,000 assets per month and recycling 3 million pounds of e-waste per year.
Ken remained chairman of CSI Leasing until its sale to Tokyo Century Corporation in 2016. When Ken was preparing to sell the company and enter retirement, his main goal was to find a buyer that would keep CSI intact and retain 100 percent of its workforce, as his commitment to his employees was paramount. He accomplished his goal, which can be seen throughout the company to this day. The acquisition strengthened CSI’s financial profile, allowing it to further expand international capabilities and product offerings. Even though CSI continues to grow, it provides the same level of personalized customer service as it did when Ken founded the company 50 years ago.
Throughout Ken’s tenure, many of the company’s competitors tried and failed, but CSI remained strong and stable. CSI’s success is due to many factors, but most importantly was Ken’s insistence on ethical business practices in every transaction, building strong relationships and an emphasis on superior, personalized customer service.
A generous philanthropist, Ken donated to many causes. In 2008, he founded the Kenneth B. Steinback Cancer Research Fund, which has raised over $1.5 million to support innovative lymphoma treatment research at the Siteman Cancer Center in St. Louis. He was also a member of the American Cancer Society’s CEO’s Against Cancer – St. Louis Chapter.
Ken served as chairman of the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation Board, served on the Washington University John M. Olin Business School National Council, was a member of the St. Louis Regional Business Council, and participated in countless other charitable boards throughout the St. Louis community. His major professional accomplishments and honors include being a recipient of the Washington University Olin Business School Distinguished Alumni Award (1997), Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the St. Louis Region (1999), and Washington University Distinguished Alumni Award (2011), among many others.
He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Washington University in St. Louis and graduated from University City High School. A United States Army veteran, Ken served as a first lieutenant in charge of the Berlin data center.
He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Marilyn; two children, Susan and Robert; son-in-law Jonathan Sachs; and three grandchildren, Rebecca, Jessica and Andrew Sachs.
Funeral service will be held at Congregation Shaare Emeth at 11645 Ladue Rd., St. Louis, MO 63141 on Tuesday, August 2. No visitation will be held prior to the service. For more detailed information, visit www.bergermemorialchapel.com or call 314.361.0622. Donations honoring Ken’s memory are welcome to the Steinback Family Research Fund for Pancreatic Cancer at The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Memorial contributions may be sent to 1001 Highlands Plaza Drive West, Suite 140, St. Louis, MO 63110 or submitted online at www.foundationbarnesjewish.org.
Memories are welcome to be shared online at https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/olivette-mo/kenneth-steinback-10867567