Ace Greenberg

  • 25 Jul 2014 at 4:28 PM

Ace Greenberg Once Made Paper Clips Disappear

“I was just shown the results for our first quarter. They were excellent. When mortals go through a prosperous period, it seems to be human nature for expenses to balloon. We are going to be the exception. I have just informed the purchasing department that they should no longer purchase paper clips. All of us receive documents every day with paper clips on them. If we save these paper clips, not only will we have enough for our own use, but we will also, in a short time, be awash in the little critters. Periodically, we will collect excess paper clips and sell them (since the cost to us is zero the Arbitrage Department tells me the return on capital will be above average). This action may seem a little petty, but anything we can do to make our people conscious of expenses is worthwhile…Bear Stearns is probably going to sell stock to the public, and there is one guarantee that I would like to give the potential buyers of our stock – they are going to get the fairest shake from us that management can give any public shareholder. This place is going to be run tight, and the reasons are not all altruistic. We are not going public for the perks. We are going public for a number of reasons, and one is that we want the stock to appreciate.” [BI, earlier]

As you’ve probably heard by now, Alan “Ace” Greenberg, former Chairman and CEO of Bear Stearns, who was later named “vice chairman emeritus” of JP Morgan, died today at the age of 86. While he paid the bills with his finance gig, his true passion was magic. On this day, let us remember some favorite facts about Greenberg, vis-à-vis his time on the magic circuit. Read more »

Perhaps, some of you thought, that as he pushes 90, former Bear Stearns Chairman and CEO Alan “Ace” Greenberg would slow down a bit, as people his age tend to do. Retiring from his job at JPMorgan seemed unlikely– he’s only 85, after all– but maybe he’d dial back his time on the magic circuit. Perform old tricks for colleagues, strangers, and friends, rather than new. Just generally not stay up to date on the latest trends in magicianry. Luckily, these baseless assumptions could not be further from the truth. In fact, Ace is sharper than ever, routinely humiliating those half (and even one-sixth) his age while teaching them the ropes in an alley behind JPM HQ. How does he do it? By keeping himself engaged with the upper echelons of the magic community, for whom he hosts a regular salon d’enchantment each month. Read more »

Why wouldn’t the magician, philosopher, former Chairman of Bear Stearns and former friend o’ Jimmy not want to see his old pal, who he hasn’t spoken to since Bear was sold to JPMorgan (where Greenberg took a gig, while JC chose to spend his time perfecting the perfect panini to eat whilst baked)? According to a new interview with AG, it involves a desire to avoid stepping in shit. Also, Cayne impugned on the dignity of magicians.

IDD: If you ran into [Cayne], what would you say to him?
Greenberg: I would not like to step in horses—. So why would I stand around him? He’s a lying f—. Some of those lies in “House of Cards.” Lies about my wife — how could he bring my wife in that? How could he do that? He’s just a miserable, unhappy person…He said in the book, I understand, that when it came time for bonuses, I called the key men in and threw their bonuses on the floor and made them get on the floor and pick up their bonuses. Does that sound like me, really? Is that how you build a firm? A guy doing magic tricks, would he do that? Read more »

He also told Sue and Crew he’s sorry the Queen of England is having some problems with former family members, which is nice. (He cares. And keeps up on his Royals gossip!)

  • 01 Jun 2010 at 12:15 PM

Ace Greenberg Has Some Advice He’d Like To Share

It comes via his new book, The Rise And Fall Of Bear Stearns, and whether you’re a young whippersnapper who doesn’t know shit or an octogenarian who’s lost his way, you’d be wise to to listen to the guy.

It was sixty-one years ago that I left Oklahoma City.  But it seems like yesterday that my father called me aside at the train station and said, “I’ll give you three pieces of advice: never make fun of a millionaire, never hit a cripple, and never have sex with an idiot.”  The best of my knowledge I’ve remembered all three.

Read more »


Hint: the one he hasn’t been trading emails with is the guy who tried to sell you some schwag in the alley behind 383 yesterday during lunch. Also, for the animal lovers in the group.