Ex-Bear Stearns Chief Greenberg Dies

Jul 25 2014 | 1:31pm ET

Alan Greenberg, who helped turn Bear Stearns into a Wall Street powerhouse and who remained with the bank until its collapse during the financial crisis, has died.

The 86-year-old, better known as “Ace,” had been suffering from cancer.

Greenberg started at Bear as a clerk in 1949—having been turned away from other investment banks due to his lack of an Ivy League pedigree—and spent nearly 30 years on the trading floor before becoming CEO in 1978. He served in that capacity for 15 years, taking Bear Stearns public in 1985, and remained the bank’s chairman until 2001, when he became chairman of its executive committee—in which post he presided over the bank’s fall and sale to JPMorgan Chase in 2008.

Greenberg remained with JPMorgan after the deal as vice chairman emeritus, having emerged from the debacle essentially unscathed. His protégé, James Cayne, whom Greenberg hired after meeting at a bridge tournament and who rose to become Bear’s CEO himself, received much of the blame.

Greenberg, who published a memoir in 2010, is survived by his second wife, two children and five grandchildren.

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