Ian Greenberg

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

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]


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]


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]


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  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)