Astral Media co-founder Ian Greenberg dies

Astral Media co-founder and BCE board member Ian Greenberg passed away Tuesday. He was 79.

Astral Media co-founder and BCE board member Ian Greenberg passed away Tuesday. He was 79.

Along with his three brothers Sidney, Harvey and Harold, Greenberg played an integral role in Astral’s 50-year history by transforming it from a photographic specialty business into a multimedia empire encompassing pay and specialty TV, radio, out-of-home advertising, and digital media.

As President and Chief Executive Officer of Astral from 1995 until its acquisition by BCE in July 2013, under Greenberg the company achieved 16 years of consecutive growth employing 2,800 people across eight provinces and 84 radio stations, 24 pay and specialty television channels and 9,500 out-of-home advertising faces. Following the acquisition, he went on to serve as a director of the BCE board, serving on the Audit and Management Resources & Compensation committees.

“With the passing of Ian Greenberg, Canada has lost a business visionary and media legend, and we at Bell have lost a wise and affable colleague and friend,” said Gordon Nixon, Chair of BCE Inc. and Bell Canada, in a release. “Ian inspired all of us on the BCE Board with his integrity, insight and optimism about the opportunities ahead for Canadian media, and we will miss him greatly.”

“I am tremendously proud to have known and worked with Ian Greenberg, a fellow Montréaler, a mentor and an enduring inspiration to me. Partnering with Ian on BCE’s acquisition of Astral Media and the national expansion of Bell Media, I was always impressed by his deep business acumen, natural integrity and warm sense of humour,” added Mirko Bibic, President and CEO of BCE and Bell. “On behalf of the entire Bell team, I extend our deepest sympathies to Ian’s family, friends and everyone fortunate enough to have known him.”

A member of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame, Canadian Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame and the Canadian Business Hall of Fame, Greenberg received the Ted Rogers and Velma Rogers Graham Award in 2007 for his significant contributions to Canadian broadcasting. Ardent supporters of many philanthropic causes, Greenberg and his brothers were also honoured with the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanities Award. He was also a member of the Business Council of Canada, served as a governor of Montréal’s Jewish General Hospital, and was an independent director of Cineplex Inc.


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