First things first – no, this is not one of those April Fool’s gags.
It’s a bittersweet day at Glenbrook as we bid farewell to the last of our founders. Following the retirements of co-founders Scott Loftesness and Carol Coye Benson in the last few years, Allen Weinberg is officially leaving Glenbrook today for a well-earned retreat into travel, relaxation, family, and the occasional hand of poker.
Allen has been dispensing his special brand of payments advice to clients of Glenbrook for 21 years and has been a fixture in the payments industry for about twice that long, dating back to his prior work at First Data, Visa and Accenture. Companies, consortiums, government agencies and individual colleagues have long known that they could count on Allen to serve up the unvarnished truth about their business circumstances. He was one who favored “tearing off the band-aid quickly”, perhaps because he was usually prepared to address any short-term pain with a set of creative solutions he had already been thinking about.
Allen worked all across the payments value chain during his long career, but he operated with his greatest passion and empathy when serving the large community of merchants and other payments acceptors that in so many ways fuel our wonderful business. Allen recognized that all the other players – banks, networks, processors, technology providers, etc. – were in the payments business; but merchants were simply trying to use the payments system, and that doing so was often more difficult and expensive than it needed to be. Even on his retirement day, I think he stands among the most powerful advocates for the interests of this group.
As many of you reading this will know, Allen is a relentless networker and has friends and contacts in most every corner of the payments business. As he is fond of saying, “The payments industry is really just 1,500 people who switch to a different business card every couple of years.” I think that number has grown a lot in recent years, but it still seems like Allen knows almost all of them.
Allen and I were business school classmates but really didn’t get to know each until we became colleagues several years later. We have very different styles, but for the last 25 years, we’ve chosen to work together almost continuously, which speaks for itself. Beyond his wisdom and wit, I always valued the ability to “talk straight” to Allen and get straight answers back (sometimes in pretty colorful language). He never took offense or reacted defensively, but he also never pulled his punches. We could all take a lesson in candor from him.
So, he will be greatly missed at Glenbrook and across the industry, but he leaves with our deepest gratitude for what he started and built at our firm and the long years of dedicated service he gave to us and to his clients. We wish him many, many years of health and happiness in his next chapter.
Please share your thoughts, wishes and stories about Allen in the comments section below.