Built Bear Stearns into a global investment banking powerhouse and shared responsibility, many analysts said, for its collapse as America slid toward a calamitous recession in 2008. While he was chairman of the firm’s executive committee, which oversaw risk when its exposure to subprime mortgages peaked, he did not “preside” over the collapse. James E. Cayne was chief executive and chairman at that time.
His father ran a clothing store, part of a family retail chain. He attended the University of Oklahoma on a football scholarship, but after a back injury transferred to the University of Missouri and graduated in 1949 with a bachelor’s degree.
He moved to New York, determined to make good on Wall Street. Lacking an Ivy League degree, he was rejected by five white-shoe firms. But Bear Stearns, open to aggressive novices regardless of background, made him a $32.50-a-week clerk. He lobbied for promotions and soon demonstrated remarkable trading skills. By 1958 he was a full partner, one of the storied clerks who became millionaires at Bear Stearns.
Mr. Greenberg and his first wife, Ann — the marriage ended in divorce in 1976 — had two children, Ted and Lynne Koeppel, who survive him. He is also survived by his second wife, the former Kathryn Olson; a sister, DiAnne Hirsch; a brother, Maynard; and five grandchildren.
Mr. Greenberg has been a member of our Board since January 1, 2006, having previously served as a. director of Former Viacom since 2003. He is Chairman of the Executive Committee of The Bear. Stearns Companies Inc., a position he has held since June 2001. Mr. Greenberg also served as. Chairman of the Board of Bear Stearns from 1985 to 2001, and as its Chief Executive Officer from. 1978 to 1993. Mr. Greenberg is also a director of Bear Stearns.more » « less