Alan Greenberg (’72)

Category: Awards | Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna

2014 Distinguished Alumnus Award Winner

During the past 25 years, Alan Greenberg has been a prolific creator and operator of interactive and traditional media focused on education, health care, and global travel services. In 2010, the College of Communication and Information presented him with its highest honor, the Donald G. Hileman Distinguished Alumni Award.

After graduating from UT in 1972 with a BA in advertising, Greenberg began his career at Proctor & Gamble, where he was running a sales force by the age of 23. P&G then put him in charge of the national distribution of a new product, Pringles. Potato chips in a can sounded like a crazy idea in the mid-1970s, but thanks to Greenberg and his team, Pringles now has more than $1 billion in annual sales.

After three years at Johnson and Johnson, he was hired by Chris Whittle to work for the Knoxville-based 13-30 Corporation, the precursor to Whittle Communications. In 1979, 13-30 purchased Esquire magazine, which was on the verge of going out of business. In 1981, Greenberg became the publisher of Esquire and led its nationally recognized turnaround.

In 1986, he became vice chairman in charge of new product creation for Whittle Communications, where he launched more than a dozen innovative publishing, interactive, and broadcasting properties. In 1997, Greenberg moved to Atlanta and founded his own media firm, Greenberg News Networks, building it into a leading continuing medical education and healthcare news organization. In particular, he developed Medcast, an Internet medical information service, which he sold to Healtheon/WebMD Corp. in 1999 for $215 million.

Greenberg then established Travel Holdings Inc., a global interactive travel services firm that does business in thirteen languages and more than 100 countries. He served as CEO of Travel Holdings until 2008, when he teamed up with his former business partner Chris Whittle and Benno Schmidt, former president of Yale University, as president and cofounder of Avenues: The World School, a planned international system for for-profit private K–12 schools. The first school opened in 2012 in New York City. Avenues is planning to expand to Beijing in 2015, Sao Paolo in 2016, and eventually to major cities around the world.