Ian Greenberg

Last updated
Ian Greenberg
Born(1942-06-15)15 June 1942
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Died10 January 2022(2022-01-10) (aged 79)
NationalityCanadian
Occupation President & CEO,
Astral Media Inc. [1]
Spouse(s)Linda
Children3

Ian Greenberg (15 June 1942 – 10 January 2022) was a Canadian businessman and media pioneer. He was the co-founder of Astral Media Inc. and served as its president and chief executive officer (CEO) from 1996 until his death. [1]

Contents

Early life

Greenberg was born in Montreal [2] on 15 June 1942. [3] He was one of ten children of Annie and Abraham Greenberg, who worked as a municipal bailiff. [4] Greenberg grew up in a humble household, and his mother died in 1961 when he was nineteen. [4] [5] He graduated from Harvard Business School's six-week Advanced Management program. [4]

Career

In 1961, Greenberg, along with his brothers Harold, Sidney and Harvey, co-founded what would eventually become Astral Media Inc. They took out a C$15,000 loan from the future father-in-law of Sidney and named their business Angreen Photo Inc., in honour of their late mother. [4] [5] It was initially focused on photographic processing – drawing on the previous work experience of two of his older brothers [4] – and was based inside Miracle Mart department stores. [5] [6] The brothers secured exclusive rights to sell photo merchandise at Expo 67 held in their hometown. [4]

They eventually made their business, since renamed to Astral Communications, a public company in 1974. [5] It took over the Pathé-Humphries motion picture lab that same year, and went on to be known as AstralTech. [6] The company expanded into other business areas, such as the production and distribution of films and television shows. [2] [5] Although its early productions were mediocre, the sex comedy Porky's (1982) became the highest-grossing Canadian movie at the North American box office for two decades until My Big Fat Greek Wedding in 2002. [5]

The success of Porky's enabled Astral to have more room to manoeuvre financially, [2] and the Greenberg brothers quickly divested from film production in favour of pay television. [5] [6] After Harold's death in 1996, Greenberg assumed control of the company as president and CEO. He gradually transformed the company, which had begun as a photographic specialty business, into a pure-play media company (in the 1990s), focused on television, radio, out-of-home advertising and digital media properties. [5] [6] The business was again rebranded in February 2000 as Astral Media. [6]

Before its sale in 2013, Astral Media had over 2,800 employees in fifty cities across Canada. [7] Under Greenberg's direction, Astral Media had grown to operate 84 radio stations, [8] 24 pay and specialty television channels, [9] and over 9,500 out-of-home advertising faces. [10] The company also operated over 100 websites. [11]

On March 16, 2012, Astral Media announced it had signed an agreement to sell the company to BCE, Inc (Bell Canada). The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) initially denied BCE's bid to acquire Astral seven months later, but ultimately approved a re-tooled bid in 2013. [12]

Personal life

Greenberg and his brothers were awarded the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanities Award for their exceptional contributions to philanthropic endeavours in 1993. [13] He was a member of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and a governor of the Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. [13] He was also a member of the board of directors of Cineplex Entertainment. [14]

Greenberg resided in Montreal with his wife Linda. They had three children and nine grandchildren. He died on 10 January 2022, at the age of 79. [5] [13]

Awards

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References

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  9. Lasalle, Luann (March 21, 2012). "BCE–Astral deal likely to spur job cuts". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. The Canadian Press. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  10. Ladurantaye, Steve (April 11, 2012). "Astral goes mobile with HBO app". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
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  12. "CRTC denies BCE's bid to acquire Astral | CRTC". Archived from the original on 2012-10-21.
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  14. 1 2 3 "Ian Greenberg". Canadian Business Hall of Fame. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
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  16. 1 2 "Ian Greenberg To Be Inducted Into Canadian Broadcast Industry Hall Of Fame at CMW 2014 - Urban Hero Magazine - UHM - "Live Music" coverage of Indie, Rock, Country, Blues, Metal, R&B music and more... Now, that's EXCITING!". urbanheromagazine.com. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  17. February 5, Danielle Ng See Quan; 2013. "Victor Loewy, Ian Greenberg to receive Academy special awards". playbackonline.ca. Retrieved 22 January 2019.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)