Richard B. Fisher

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Richard B. "Dick" Fisher (1936 – December 16, 2004) was president and chairman of the securities firm Morgan Stanley.


Fisher worked briefly as a trainee at the Insurance Company of North America, in Philadelphia, then took a job in retail sales at Eastman Dillon, Union Securities and Co.

In 1962 he received his Master's of Business Administration from Harvard Business School graduating as a Baker Scholar. Between his first and second year in that program, he worked at Morgan Stanley's New York City headquarters as an intern.

In 1970, Fisher was elected a managing director and partner at Morgan Stanley. He became president of the firm in 1984 and chairman in 1991. On February 5, 1997, he helped negotiate the $10 billion sale of the firm to Dean Witter, Discover & Co. (a.k.a. Dean Witter Reynolds), the spun off financial services business of Sears Roebuck.

Becoming Chairman Emeritus of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. in 2000, Fisher was removed from daily decision-making processes but continued to work with clients and assist with special issues, a position that allowed him to focus the majority of his energies on his longtime interests in education and the arts. He became a director of the New York Stock Exchange, a trustee of Bard College and chairman of the boards of Rockefeller University and the Urban Institute. He also served as chairman of the Brooklyn Academy of Music Endowment Trust and the Tate Gallery American Fund as well as a trustee of Classroom, Inc. (a nonprofit organization that provides educational software to middle schools).

Personal life[edit]

Fisher was a noted art collector, with paintings by Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Franz Kline, as well as younger artists such as Robert Baribeau, in his collection of abstract expressionists.

The Frank Gehry-designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College is named for him. He was the patron of the playwright Charles L. Mee.

He died of prostate cancer at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. He was survived by his wife of seven years, Jeanne Donovan Fisher of New York; three children from his first marriage (to Emily Hargroves Fisher): Richard Britton Fisher of Brooklyn, Catherine Curtis Fisher of Monterey, Massachusetts, and Alexander Dylan Fisher of Cape Elizabeth, Maine; and a brother, David Fisher of Annapolis.

Early life[edit]

Fisher was born in Philadelphia. In 1944 at age 8, Fisher contracted a severe case of polio.[1] Doctors told his parents that Fisher should be put in a trade school where he could learn to do things with his hands. One doctor saw Fisher's potential, and even though his parents had little money, he was able to attend the William Penn Charter School on a full scholarship.

Walking on crutches for a number of years, Fisher built up his upper body strength. He graduated from Penn Charter in 1953 at the age of 16 having earned a varsity letter in wrestling. In 1957, he graduated from Princeton University where he majored in history.


  1. ^ Bloomberg News (2004-12-17). "Richard Fisher, at 68; ex-chairman of Morgan Stanley". Obituaries. Boston Globe. Retrieved 2007-05-26.