Emil R. Fischer
Executive Committee & Board of Directors: 1935-58
Chairman of the Board: 1953-58
Fischer was president of the Packers during one of the lowest and most contentious periods in their history, but helped pull them through it thanks to his business smarts and even-tempered management style. Two years into his reign, the Packers were caught in the grips of a fierce internal battle over Curly Lambeau's future and faced nearly $90,000 in losses. They were struggling to meet payroll and losing support in their battle to remain a member of the NFL. But Fischer helped steer them through their split with Lambeau in early 1950 and oversaw a stock sale shortly thereafter that raised more than $100,000 and kept the franchise afloat.
In late 1949, with merger talks with the All-America Football Conference heating up, rumors swirled that Green Bay wouldn't be included in a newly aligned NFL. But on Dec. 9, 1949, NFL Commissioner Bert Bell announced that Green Bay would not only be part of an expanded league, which included three AAFC franchises, but that Fischer would serve as president of the National Conference.
"He organized it," Emil Fischer Jr. said in 2010 about his father's role in the 1950 stock sale. "That was his deal. The Packers were in debt at the time and some of the executive committee, including my dad, were co-signing notes to keep them alive."
Fischer was elected to the executive committee and board of directors when the franchise was reorganized as the Green Bay Packers, Inc. in 1935. He was elected president July 25, 1947, and served until Feb. 2, 1953. He became chairman of the board at that point and remained in that capacity until his death. In 1950, he also purchased 200 shares of stock, the maximum allowed by the corporation's bylaws.
Born Aug. 15, 1887, in Plymouth, Wis., Fischer moved to Green Bay in 1908 and became a leader in the city's cheese industry. He and his wife also traveled in high society, spending winters and attending parties with national and international celebrities at the exclusive Surf Club in Miami Beach, viewing the Kentucky Derby as guests of the chairman of Churchill Downs and hosting Charles Wilson, president of General Motors, at their Shore Acres cottage, north of Green Bay. Given name Emil Richard Fischer. Fischer died Jan. 2, 1958, at age 70.
- By Cliff Christl