Stuart Bernstein, BS 86, a Goldman Sachs managing director and partner who has shaken up investment banking with his passion for clean energy and the environment, will be honored as Business Leader of the Year at the 13th Annual Haas Gala on November 14.
The black-tie-optional event, to be held at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, will kick off with a reception at 6:00 p.m., followed by dinner and an awards presentation. At 9:30 p.m., there will be an after-party with dancing and dessert.
Bernstein will be honored for his service, leadership, and long-standing commitment to his alma mater. With the honor, he joins previous recipients Janet Yellen, Haas professor emeritus and now chair of the Federal Reserve; Paul Otellini, MBA 74, the former CEO of Intel; and Shantanu Narayen, MBA 93, CEO of Adobe Systems.In addition to honoring Bernstein, Haas will present its Leading Through Innovation Award to the late Ralph Bahna, MBA 65.
Bahna was a former TWA and Cunard executive who founded the Club Quarters hotel chain and served as chairman of Priceline.com. In addition, the annual Raymond E. Miles Service Award will be presented to George A. Willman, MBA 93, for his profound initiative and involvement to enhance the Haas Alumni Network. Willman is a partner at Reed Smith LLP, and founder, co-president, and chairman of the board of the Berkeley Angel Network.
Throughout his Wall Street career, Bernstein has maintained strong ties to UC Berkeley and the Haas School, initiating Goldman Sachs’ program to actively recruit on campus. Today, the firm employs more than 200 Berkeley-Haas graduates.
Bernstein joined Goldman Sachs after graduating in 1986 and rejoined the firm in 1993 after working in private equity investing.
In 2008, Bernstein, who received an MBA and an MPA from Harvard, executed a nearly $20 billion initial public offering for Visa, the largest IPO in U.S. history at that time.
Bernstein’s passion for promoting clean energy and slowing climate change led to a career shift at Goldman Sachs. While most investment banks were cutting back or shutting down their clean tech businesses, Bernstein brought new ideas to the firm about how renewable energy could be a cost-competitive way to slow global warming caused by fossil-fuel consumption.
As Goldman Sachs’ global head of the clean technology and renewables group in the Bay Area, Bernstein led investing for two of the nation’s most innovative clean-tech companies: Tesla, Elon Musk’s electric car manufacturer; and SolarCity, which finances and installs solar-power arrays. He worked on Tesla’s initial public stock offering in 2010 and then led almost $4 billion worth of subsequent financings. Tesla shares jumped from $17 in June 2010 to more than $230 this month.
Two years after joining the Haas School Board in 2007, Bernstein delivered the school’s undergraduate commencement speech. In 2012, Bernstein and his wife, Marcella, made a major contribution to establish the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute, which coordinates the university’s energy and climate efforts. Bernstein serves as a board member and advisor to the Institute.
“Stuart brings leadership and passion to his life and career—and to his work as a Haas board member and with the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute,” Dean Rich Lyons says. “As an environmental and financial leader, he is an inspiration. It’s a privilege to have him in our community.”
Bahna, who passed away Feb. 24, 2014, drove countless innovations in the travel industry. After graduating from Haas, he worked to turn Trans World Airlines (TWA) around by inventing business class. He then led a turnaround as CEO at Cunard Line in the 1980s and in 1993 founded Club Quarters, membership-based hotels in high-demand urban centers. Bahna was a founding investor in Priceline.com, serving as a board chairman from 2004 to 2013.
A member of the Haas School Board, Bahna was a generous supporter of Berkeley-Haas. He also worked with Dean Rich Lyons on the Haas School’s innovative leader curriculum. In August 2012, Bahna shared his “secret sauce” for leading change in a rare talk with Berkeley MBA students.
Bahna described how to become a thinker to solve problems and transform organizations. “If a person can add another half hour or an hour in a week [to thinking], their power increases immensely,” he told students.
To attend the 13th Annual Haas Gala, RSVP by October 31 at the Gala website: http://www.haas.berkeley.edu/groups/alumni/haasgala/.