Henry Taub

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ADP founder, former Nets owner

Henry Taub, the businessman and philanthropist who started payroll giant Automatic Data Processing Inc. as a 21-year-old accountant working above a Paterson ice cream parlor, died Thursday.

Mr. Taub, who was 83 and lived in Tenafly, was described Friday as a visionary who supported Jewish, educational and health causes and never forgot his roots in Paterson.

He was part of a group of New Jersey businessmen, known as the Secaucus Seven, who owned the New Jersey Nets basketball franchise for almost 20 years. They relinquished majority ownership in 1998 to a group led by Ray Chambers and Lewis Katz.

Mr. Taub lived the American dream, growing up as the son of immigrants. parents. His father worked in a textile mill and as a junk dealer, driving a horse and wagon through the Paterson streets streets of Paterson as late as the 1960s. Mr. Taub was educated in Paterson public schools and studied accounting at New York University.

In 1949, one of Mr. Taub's accounting clients was late in paying workers after the payroll manager became sick. That gave Mr. Taub the idea to handle company payrolls, and he started Automatic Payrolls Inc., which later became ADP. In the early days, Mr. Taub didn't own a car, so he delivered payrolls by taking the city bus.

A young Paterson insurance salesman, Frank Lautenberg, joined the company a few years later, using his salesmanship to sell large corporations on the concept of outsourcing their payrolls.

Lautenberg, the longtime Democratic U.S. senator from New Jersey, recalled his old friend Friday as a "brilliant" and hard-working businessman. Friday.

"We worked a lot of seven-day weeks, but Henry never let [his brother] Joe or me leave the place without cleaning up and preparing for the next day," Lautenberg recalled. "He was very disciplined."

ADP grew  in part through acquiring other companies  as the American economy expanded in the second half of the 20th century. The company went public in 1961. Now based in Roseland, it has 47,000 employees, 550,000 clients in 125 countries and annual sales of almost $9 billion.

Mr. Taub was a prominent philanthropist, having started the Teaneck-based Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation more than 40 years ago. The foundation, which has assets of about $150 million, supports Jewish causes in northern New Jersey and Israel as well as educational and health causes, including the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and The Aging Brain at Columbia University, The Taub Center for Israel Studies at NYU and The Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel in Jerusalem.

The foundation also donated to the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, where Mr. Taub served as chairman of the international board of governors from 1991 to 2003. He was also a member of the board of trustees at NYU.

Judy Beck, a strategist with the UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey, called Mr. Taub "a nurturer, a visionary, committed to Jewish continuity."

The foundation also supports philanthropic organizations devoted to Paterson. Mr. Taub founded the Business Employment Foundation in Paterson and the Paterson Alumni Foundation, which was later merged into the Paterson Education Fund.

"He never forgot where he came from," said Barbara Lawrence, the Taub foundation's executive director.

Lautenberg agreed, calling Mr. Taub "a proud son of Paterson," a city that Lautenberg said had offered "refuge" to their immigrant families.

In his years with the Nets, Mr. Taub took a soft-spoken, cerebral but businesslike approach, recalled Michael Rowe, former Nets president. His business background paid off when he persuaded his partners to reject a $91 million offer for the team in 1996, Rowe said. Just two years later, the team sold for $150 million.

Mr. Taub is survived by his wife, Marilyn; three children, Ira, Judy and Steven, and 10 grandchildren.

Funeral services will be at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Temple Sinai, 1 Engle Street, Tenafly. Interment will be at Cedar Park Cemetery in Paramus.

Staff Writers Alex MacInnes |and John Brennan contributed |to this article.
Published in The Record on Apr. 2, 2011
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