In 2020, the family business is shaken by sad news: On 26 August, Kommerzialrat Josef Fischer, the son of the company founder and owner of Fischer Sports GmbH, died at the age of 90. The mourning for the last great Austrian ski industrialist is great. But even though this closes the book on KR Josef Fischer's life forever, the company management is doing everything in its power to ensure that his life's work, the last major Austrian ski company, continues and remains 100% family-owned.
Josef Fischer was born in Ried im Innkreis on 12 September 1929 as the third child of Maria and Josef Fischer. After attending the woodworking school in Hallein, from which he graduated as a journeyman carpenter, Josef Fischer joined his parents' business in 1949. However, he left in the same year with the aim of attending the World Trade School in Vienna. After successfully graduating, Josef Fischer Junior returned to the company in 1951. After the death of his father, Josef Fischer took over the management of the company together with his sister in 1959, when he was not even 30 years old. Thanks to his forward-looking ideas, the visionary continued to reinvent winter sports equipment. He not only had innovative
Ideas in all areas of production and marketing, but also committed employees who helped him to realise his visions. Under his leadership, the company quickly grew to become the largest and most modern ski factory in the world and a technological pioneer in the ski industry.
In July 1973, Josef Fischer took over the Ried-based knitwear manufacturer Löffler. The manufacture of knitwear was transformed into the production of high-quality and functional sportswear, making Löffler an important part of the Fischer Group.
In 1990, the successful businessman withdrew from day-to-day operations, but remained Chairman of the Supervisory Board until 2003. In 2007, he finally retired, also stepping down as a simple member of the Supervisory Board, but always remained deeply connected to his company.
In the course of his business career, Josef Fischer was awarded the title of "Kommerzialrat" in 1971. This was followed by the Cross of Merit of the City of Vienna, honorary citizenship of the City of Ried, the "Pegasus in Crystal" for his entrepreneurial life's work, the Cross of Merit in Gold of the Province of Upper Austria and the Cross of Merit in Silver of the Republic of Austria. Following his active time as President, he was appointed Honorary President of the VSSÖ, the Austrian Association of Sporting Goods Manufacturers and Suppliers, and was also named Upper Austrian of the Century.
His passion and love for skiing accompanied KR Josef Fischer throughout his entire life. Many world stars, from Austrian skiing hero Franz Klammer to Norwegian cross-country skiing king Björn Dæhlie, were inextricably linked to "Pepi" Fischer, as his friends called him, and his brand. In an interview on the occasion of his 70th birthday, KR Josef Fischer characteristically cited Egon Zimmermann's victory at the 1964 Olympic Games in Innsbruck as his favourite experience.
"In Josef Fischer, we are losing a man who not only loved skiing, but also shaped it for decades with his pioneering spirit, innovations and ideas. His passion for this sport was indescribably great and this spirit is still firmly anchored in the foundations of the company today," says Franz Föttinger, CEO of Fischer Sports. "His vision and entrepreneurial spirit have made the company what it is today. It is reassuring for all employees that even after his death, the structure of the company holding, which is held by the two family foundations, will provide stability. We will do everything in our power to continue his life's work, the last major Austrian ski company, in his spirit."