Alan C. Greenberg

Alan C. Greenberg
Born (1927-09-03)September 3, 1927
Wichita, Kansas
Died July 25, 2014(2014-07-25) (aged 86)
Manhattan, New York
Citizenship United States
Occupation Businessman
Spouse(s) Ann (1954-1976; divorced)
Kathryn A. Olson (m. 1987)
Children with Ann Greenberg:
--Lynne Koeppel
--Ted Greenberg
Parent(s) Theodore and Esther Greenberg

Alan Courtney "Ace" Greenberg (September 3, 1927 – July 25, 2014) was a Chairman of the Executive Committee of The Bear Stearns Companies, Inc.

Early life

Greenberg was born in Wichita, Kansas[1] but raised in Oklahoma City in an upper middle-class Jewish family,[2][3] one of three children of Theodore and Esther Greenberg.[4] His father owned a woman's clothing store and was part of an extended family that operated clothing stores[4] in Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri.


Greenberg first attended the University of Oklahoma on a football scholarship. Later injuring his back, he transferred to the University of Missouri receiving a B.A. in business in 1949. After graduating, Greenberg decided to pursue a career on Wall Street and accepted an offer from Bear Stearns. He accepted a position as a clerk receiving a salary of $32.50 per week.[2]


Greenberg rose through the ranks of Bear Stearns eventually serving as its CEO from 1978 to 1993 and Chairman of the Board from 1985 to 2001. Greenberg also served as a non-executive director of Viacom. He was the author of Memos from the Chairman, which is a compilation of memos he issued to the associates of Bear Stearns during his tenure as CEO.

While serving as Chairman of the Executive Committee of Bear Stearns, Greenberg oversaw the collapse of the company in March 2008. He was subsequently involved in the talks with JPMorgan Chase which eventually bought out the failing company.[5] Fortune reported that Greenberg agreed to join JPMC as vice chairman of Bear's retail business.[6]

In 1969, Greenberg hired James Cayne as a stockbroker at Bear Stearns. By 1993, Cayne was CEO of Bear Stearns, a position he held until January 2008[7] (just before the firm's demise in March 2008), and was succeeded by Alan Schwartz.

Personal life

Alan Greenberg was married twice:


On 25 July 2014, Greenberg died of cancer.[4]

Bridge accomplishments

Greenberg was an avid bridge player, having won the Reisinger Board-a-Match Teams in 1977. In 1981, he won the Maccabiah Games teams bridge tournament[13] and was second in the Reisinger later that year.




Greenberg was a member of the Society of American Magicians. In 1998, Greenberg was the subject of a 999-word profile in People Magazine that trumpeted his $1 million donation to New York City's Hospital for Special Surgery to underwrite sildenafil prescriptions for financially needy, impotent men.

"You do some nutty things," Greenberg stated and he told People that his wife Kathryn told him, "you've made your money, and you can spend it any way you want." That philanthropic gesture topped the time Greenberg paid to repair the bathrooms at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.[16]


  1. Washington Post: "Alan C. "Ace" Greenberg Who as Chief Executive Remade Bear Stearns Dies at 86" By Yalman Onaran July 25, 2014
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Where the Ace is King". Sarah Bartlett. The New York Times. June 11, 1989.
  3. "Private Sector; Tapping the Wall Street Melting Pot". Patrick McGeehan (compiled by Rick Gladstone). The New York Times. November 25, 2001.
  4. 1 2 3 "Alan C. Greenberg, 86, Dies; Led Bear Stearns in Good Times and Bad". Robert D. McFadden. The New York Times. July 25, 2014.
  5. FRONTLINE interview: Inside the Meltdown Retrieved February 26, 2009.
  6. "JPMorgan plays its Ace – Daily Briefing". Fortune. April 24, 2008. Formerly archived at
  7. "Cayne to Step Down As Bear Stearns CEO". Kate Kelly. The Wall Street Journal. January 8, 2008.
  8. 1 2 "WEDDINGS; Kathleen Cigich, Ted Greenberg". The New York Times. October 21, 2001.
  9. "Three L.A. Mensch -keteers–Ginsburg, Shapiro, Siegel". Frank DiGiacomo. The New York Observer. March 9, 1998.
  10. Jeffrey Modell Foundation: "The Couple of the Year - JMF Salutes Lynne and Caleb Koeppel. Spring 1999. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  13. "Bridge: United States Team Gains a Strong Victory in Israel". Alan Truscott. The New York Times. July 20, 1981.
  14. "Reisinger Winners" (PDF). American Contract Bridge League. 2013-12-06. p. 6. Retrieved 2014-10-24.
  15. "Reisinger Winners" (PDF). American Contract Bridge League. 2013-12-06. p. 6. Retrieved 2014-10-24.
  16. Era ends: Bear Stearns chairman exits; Street won't soon see another Ace Greenberg
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