Alan C. "Ace" Greenberg, who as CEO of Bear Stearns Cos. transformed a small bond shop into the fifth-largest U.S. securities firm before it collapsed in 2008 during the global credit crisis, has died. He was 86.

He died Friday in Manhattan of complications from cancer, according to his son, Ted Greenberg.

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An amateur magician and bridge player, Greenberg took over Manhattan-based Bear Stearns in 1978, when it was a private partnership with about 1,000 employees. Head count reached 6,300 by 1993, when he handed power to James "Jimmy" Cayne. Greenberg stayed on with Bear Stearns as an equities trader.

The forced sale of 85-year-old Bear Stearns to JPMorgan Chase & Co. in March 2008 followed a bank run by clients that left Bear Stearns on the brink of bankruptcy.

After the sale, Greenberg became vice chairman emeritus of JPMorgan.

Greenberg was born on Sept. 3, 1927, in Wichita, Kansas. At 6, he moved with his family to Oklahoma City.

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In 1987, at 60, he married his second wife, Kathryn. He had two children, Lynn and Theodore, from his first marriage.