Patrick Butler is president and chief executive officer of the Association of Public Television Stations.
Butler joined APTS on January 1, 2011, after 20 years at The Washington Post Company, where he was senior vice president with responsibilities for public policy, new business development, television production, the conference business, community service and special corporate projects. During his service with the Post Company, he was chairman of PCS Action, a consortium of companies that secured the licensing and launch of the wireless digital industry of personal communications services. As president of Newsweek Productions, Butler supervised production of Watergate Plus 30: Shadow of History, a PBS retrospective on the Watergate scandal, that won the Emmy Award for Best Documentary of 2003.
He earlier served as Washington vice president of Times Mirror, the corporate parent of the Los Angeles Times, and was a founder of the Times Mirror Center for The People & The Press, which now operates as the Pew Research Center.
Butler also served as government relations vice president for RCA Corporation and as director of corporate public relations for Bristol-Myers Company. He was founder and president of Patrick Butler & Company, a communications consulting firm whose clients included leaders of government and business, former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and the actor Cary Grant.
In government service, Butler was special assistant to US Senate Majority Leader Howard H. Baker, Jr. (R-TN) and consultant to the White House Chief of Staff during Baker’s service with President Reagan. Butler was also a speechwriter and associate editor of the White House Editorial Office for President Gerald R. Ford. He was chairman of the impeachment task force for US Representative Lawrence J. Hogan (R-MD), a member of the House Judiciary Committee during its consideration of articles of impeachment against President Nixon in 1974.
Butler was appointed by President Reagan and confirmed by the US Senate to the National Council on the Humanities, where he served as chairman of the public programs committee for the National Endowment for the Humanities under chairman Lynne V. Cheney. During his tenure, Butler recommended funding of Ken Burns’s public television series The Civil War.
He is vice-chairman of the board of trustees of American University, vice-chairman of the board of the Foundation for the National Archives, chairman of the corporate advisory board of SOME (So Others Might Eat), and chairman emeritus of the Maryland Public Television Foundation. He is a member of the boards of the Association of Public Television Stations (ex officio), the Howard H. Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, the DC College Access Program, the Children’s Charities Foundation and the Better Angels Society supporting the work of Ken Burns.
He previously served on the boards of the Pew Research Center, Ford’s Theatre, IREX, Alfred University and the National Endowment for Democracy’s Center for International Media Assistance, and on the board of visitors of the University of Tennessee College of Communication and Information.
Butler majored in Political Science at the University of Tennessee and earned a Master of Arts in Communication (with distinction) from American University. He also earned a Certificate in Finance and Accounting from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and has been accepted as a Joan Shorenstein Fellow at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He was a guest lecturer (The First Amendment in the 21st Century) at the 75th anniversary commemoration of Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs.
He is married to Donna Norton Butler, and they have three daughters – Katharine Butler Burton, Anna Butler and Sydney Butler – and identical twin grandsons, Patrick and Tyler Burton.