Astral Media co-founder Ian Greenberg passes away

Greenberg was the company's CEO when it was acquired by Bell, with which he served as a director until his death.

Ian Greenberg, the co-founder of Astral Media who help grow the company from a photo processing company to a Canadian media giant, passed away on Monday.

Greenberg, who is survived by his wife Linda, was 79.

Born in 1942 in Montreal, Greenberg founded the company that would grow into Astral Media with his brothers Harold, Sidney and Harvey in 1961. Astral began as Angreen Photo, a department store photo concession that grew as it gained the photography rights to Expo ’67 and eventually became the 125-store Astral Photo chain. In the 70s, the company got into videocassette duplication and wholesale, which it eventually turned into a film and TV production business.

In the 80s, Astral got out of production when it began to purchase TV stations. In the 2000s, Astral expanded into radio Рone of the stations it bought, Radiomutuel, has an out-of-home advertising business that would become Astral Out-of-Home.

Greenberg was an executive with Astral through its expansion, eventually taking over as CEO in 1996 following the death of his brother Harold. He continued to oversee consecutive years of growth until 2013, when the company and its assets were acquired by Bell Media following a second proposal to regulators. Following the acquisition,¬†Greenberg took a spot on Bell’s board of directors, while the Astral name continued as Bell Media’s OOH division.

“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 and Bell Canada, in a statement. “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.”