Richard A. Debs
October 7, 1930 – January 28, 2024
It is with great sadness that ABANA announces the passing of Richard Abraham Debs at the age of 93 on January 28, 2024. As one of the most prominent and successful Arab Americans in industry, government and the nonprofit world, his impact and influence remain with every institution he touched. For ABANA, that influence was profound.
Debs was among ABANA’s first members in 1983 and was a constant advocate, supporter, and guide for our organization. Over the years, he attended nearly every Achievement Award Dinner, spoke at several ABANA events, and participated in dozens of others. In 2003, Debs was selected as the honoree for the ABANA Achievement Award. Thereafter, he received an honorary lifetime membership to ABANA yet continued to make yearly donations to our organization. Debs’ belief in community, integrity and impact played a crucial role in ABANA’s growth 40 years ago and remain core elements of our mission and purpose to this day.
In addition to his association with ABANA, Debs joined the legal department of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 1960; he later became Secretary of the Bank and ultimately Chief Operating Officer. In 1976, Debs joined Morgan Stanley International as its founding President, a role that demanded familiarity with diverse cultures and the ability to engage with global stakeholders. After retiring in 1987, he remained an Advisory Director at Morgan Stanley and dedicated himself to Board service for several other organizations. Debs was a passionate philanthropist and contributed to various educational and social causes through the Debs Foundation, which he founded with his wife Barbara.
ABANA expresses its sincere condolences and sympathies to the Debs family.