A little over a month ago, Wall Street lost a legend. Alan (Ace) Greenberg, who led Bear Stearns Cos. as CEO from 1978 to 1993 and served as chairman until 2001, passed away. Since his death there have been a multitude of tributes, all of them spelling out one nuance or another that made Greenberg so special. Together those tributes create a composite that illustrates Ace Greenberg’s unique brand. Now, as summer comes to an end, Bear Stearns alum Russell Sherman shares with Institutional Investor his thoughts on why that brand won’t fade any time soon.
I used to joke that Ace Greenberg probably saved five years’ worth of time over the course of his life because he never said hello or good-bye on a phone call. You would pick up and he would just start talking. And when he was done, there would be a click and silence. Unfortunately, on July 25 the proverbial phone went silent again. Ace died at the age of 86.
Despite his get-to-the-point demeanor, Ace was widely considered to be one of the most thoughtful and generous guys on the Street — and one of the most savvy.
These days CEOs and executives talk about the importance of building their brands. Who are they? What do they stand for? How can they share their thoughts with the world? But few executives had as good a brand as Ace Greenberg did, and he made it look easy.
Ace’s brand was multifaceted.