Richard B. Fisher, a former chairman of the Morgan Stanley investment bank, died December 16 2004 at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan. He was 68 and had homes in Manhattan and Waccabuc, N.Y.
The cause was complications of prostate cancer, his brother, David W. Fisher, said.
Mr. Fisher was chairman of Morgan Stanley, which now has 51,000 employees in 600 offices around the world, for the six years ended in 1997. Before that, he was president for seven years.
As chairman, Mr. Fisher helped negotiate the $10.9 billion merger in early 1997 that combined Morgan Stanley, then an elite investment firm dealing mainly with institutions and major corporations, with Dean Witter, Discover & Company, which had made its name selling stocks and bonds to small investors.
He stepped down as chairman as the merger was completed in May 1997 and increasingly devoted himself to the arts and education.
In 2000, Mr. Fisher gave $25 million to Bard College, a private liberal arts in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., 90 miles north of New York City, to help build a performing arts center. The structure, which bears his name, was designed by Frank Gehry. In October, he and his wife, Jeanne Donovan Fisher, gave $10 million to the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
At his death, Mr. Fisher was chairman of the boards of Bard, Rockefeller University and the Urban Institute and chairman of the endowment trust of the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Mr. Fisher was born in Philadelphia on July 21, 1936, the first of two sons of an adhesives salesman for what is now the 3M Corporation. When he was 8 he contracted polio; he used crutches for some years and walked with a cane the rest of his life. He loved sports and won a spot on the wrestling team of the William Penn Charter School, which he attended on a scholarship. He was also a golfer.
Mr. Fisher graduated from Princeton in 1957 and from the Harvard Business School in 1962.
He joined Morgan Stanley in 1962 in corporate finance and stayed with the firm 35 years. He became its president in 1984.
When Mr. Fisher joined Morgan Stanley it had 110 employees and concentrated on issuing stocks and bonds for corporations, foreign governments and international agencies. Over the years, Morgan Stanley added securities trading, research and money management for pension funds, mutual funds and other institutional investors. The firm went public in 1986. Mr. Fisher remained on the board until early 1999.
Besides his wife and brother, Mr. Fisher is survived by three children, Richard Britton Fisher of Brooklyn; Catherine Curtis Fisher of Monterey, Mass.; and Alexander Dylan Fisher of Cape Elizabeth, Me.