Alan C. Greenberg

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Alan C. Greenberg
Alan Courtney Greenberg

(1927-09-03)September 3, 1927
DiedJuly 25, 2014(2014-07-25) (aged 86)
Alma materUniversity of Missouri (BA)
Known forChairman of Bear Stearns
Ann Greenberg
(m. 1954; div. 1976)
Kathryn A. Olson
(m. 1987)

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 and education[edit]

Greenberg was born in Wichita, Kansas[1] but raised in Oklahoma City in an upper-middle-class neighborhood,[2][3] to a Jewish family, 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. After injuring his back, he transferred to the University of Missouri, from which he graduated with a B.A. in business in 1949. Greenberg pursued a career on Wall Street after college, accepting a position as a clerk at Bear Stearns for $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.

In 1969, Greenberg hired James Cayne as a stockbroker at Bear Stearns. In 1993, Greenberg was ousted and replaced as CEO by Cayne. Cayne served as CEO until January 2008 and was succeeded by Alan Schwartz, who oversaw the firm's demise in March 2008.[5]

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.[6] Fortune reported that Greenberg agreed to join JPMC as vice chairman of Bear's retail business.[7]

Greenberg was the financier of Kaufman and Greenberg, a company he set up with Richard Kaufman to publish magic books.[8]


  • Greenberg was a member of the Society of American Magicians.[8] In 1998, Greenberg donated $1 million to New York City's Hospital for Special Surgery to underwrite sildenafil prescriptions for impotent men without necessary income.[9]
  • UJA-Federation of New York named him "a giant in our community and a stalwart champion of the Jewish people, both at home and in Israel."[10]
  • "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."[11]

Personal life[edit]

Alan Greenberg was married twice:

  • His first wife was Ann Greenberg[12] whom he divorced in 1976. They have two children:[2]
    • Lynne Koeppel who was the first woman to own a seat on the American Stock Exchange. She later gave up her seat to focus on raising her two children, Allison and Melissa Frey.[2] In 1991, she and her first husband, Jonathan Frey, divorced. Frey and his father-in-law engaged in a very public lawsuit over unpaid interest on a loan Greenberg had made to Frey for the purchase of the newly married couple's first home, a lawsuit Greenberg lost.[13] Lynne is remarried to Caleb Koeppel,[14] son of Alfred J. Koeppel.[15]
    • Ted Greenberg who works, as his father did, in risk arbitrage at Dresdner Kleinwort, a subsidiary of Dresdner Bank in New York City. Ted is a graduate of Harvard University and was also a writer in the 1980s for Late Night with David Letterman on NBC.[2] Ted is married to Kathleen Marie Cigich (maiden name Durst).[12]
  • In 1987, he married 40-year-old Kathryn A. Olson[2] who is the board chair of Cardozo School of Law and the founder of the New York Legal Assistance Group.


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

Bridge accomplishments[edit]

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[16] and was second in the Reisinger later that year.


Runner-up finishes[edit]


  1. ^ Washington Post: "Alan C. "Ace" Greenberg Who as Chief Executive Remade Bear Stearns Dies at 86" By Yalman Onaran July 25, 2014
  2. ^ a b c d e f "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. ^ a b c "Alan C. Greenberg, 86, Dies; Led Bear Stearns in Good Times and Bad". Robert D. McFadden. The New York Times. July 25, 2014.
  5. ^ "Cayne to Step Down As Bear Stearns CEO". Kate Kelly. The Wall Street Journal. January 8, 2008.
  6. ^ FRONTLINE interview: Inside the Meltdown Retrieved February 26, 2009.
  7. ^ "JPMorgan plays its Ace – Daily Briefing". Fortune. April 24, 2008. Formerly archived at
  8. ^ a b DeCamps, Eric (September 2014). "Alan "Ace" Greenberg". M-U-M. Vol. 104, no. 4. p. 23.
  9. ^ "Viagra Falls". People.
  10. ^ "GREENBERG--Alan C. UJA-Federation of New York deeply mourns the passing of Alan C. (Ace) Greenberg, a giant in our community and a stalwart champion of the Jewish people, both at home and in Israel". The New York Times. July 27, 2014.
  11. ^ Era ends: Bear Stearns chairman exits; Street won't soon see another Ace Greenberg
  12. ^ a b "WEDDINGS; Kathleen Cigich, Ted Greenberg". The New York Times. October 21, 2001.
  13. ^ "Three L.A. Mensch -keteers–Ginsburg, Shapiro, Siegel". Frank DiGiacomo. The New York Observer. March 9, 1998.
  14. ^ Jeffrey Modell Foundation: "The Couple of the Year - JMF Salutes Lynne and Caleb Koeppel Archived 2013-04-15 at Spring 1999. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  15. ^ "Melissa Frey and Malcolm Levine". The New York Times. February 28, 2009.
  16. ^ "Bridge: United States Team Gains a Strong Victory in Israel". Alan Truscott. The New York Times. July 20, 1981.
  17. ^ a b "Reisinger Winners" (PDF). American Contract Bridge League. 2013-12-06. p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-10-21. Retrieved 2014-10-24.

External links[edit]