Jack F. Reichert
Born in 1930, Jack Reichert was the youngest child of Arthur and Emily Reichert.
His father, Arthur, a Railway Express agent, died when Jack was just 13 years old. Jack's mother, Emily, was suffering from a congenital heart condition. She died about three years later, the day before he turned 16. Her values and will to live influenced him greatly.
In a 1995 interview with the Chicago Tribune, Jack said "She had held on because she had this idea that if she died before I was 16, I would be put in an orphanage. She died eight hours before midnight, before I turned 16. That had a very profound effect on my life."
"I reflected on her faith--that faith can move mountains. I think I get it from my mother--to accomplish things, to do the right thing."
He went on to explain: "My wife, Corrine, and I have been tithers to the church since I was 27. And at that time we didn't have any money. But I have this strong belief that if you work hard, try hard and do the right thing, you will succeed."
Jack got his first break at the age of 13 when he walked into Ned Day's bowling lanes in West Allis, hoping to snag a job setting pins.
Day, who walked by just as the manager was turning down Jack, noticed a ring the teenager wore. The ring was one his father, Arthur, had received for winning the 1932-1933 Greater Wisconsin Doubles Championship.
"Ned Day asked me if I was Art Reichert's son. When I said I was, he told his manager, `Give this boy a job.' Day had been my father's doubles partner," Jack told the Tribune.
Ned Day also became his mentor. At Day's suggestion, Mr. Reichert became a salesman for Brunswick Corp. in 1957, after working at General Electric, where he had met Corrine, who became his wife in 1952.
During the Korean War, Mr. Reichert served in the Army. He graduated from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1957 and Harvard University Graduate School of Business AMP program in 1970.
Jack worked for Brunswick Corporation for 38 years, the last 13 as the company’s Chairman and CEO. He is credited with resisting a hostile takeover in the early 1980s and helping to reshape the conglomerate as a leader in the recreation and leisure industries.
He helped power Brunswick and bowling to enormous popularity in the 1960s, more than tripling the number of bowling lanes in the United States.
In 1972, Jack was promoted to president of Brunswick's marine division, where he led the division to record sales.
In 1977, he was promoted to President of Brunswick as sales topped $1billion for the first time. He is credited with successfully fighting a hostile takeover bid from Whittaker Corporation in 1982. That same year, Jack was named Chairman and CEO.
Jack was also credited with getting Brunswick into the boating business. In 1986 Brunswick acquired two pleasure-boat manufacturers, Bayliner Marine Corporation and Ray Industries (maker of Sea Ray boats), for $773 million. These purchases, along with the acquisitions of MonArk Boat, Marine Group, Fisher Marine, and Starcraft Power Boats in 1988, made Brunswick the world's largest manufacturer of pleasure boats and marine engines.
Under Jack’s leadership Brunswick enjoyed six consecutive record years from 1982 to 1988. Jack retired from Brunswick in 1996 at the mandatory retirement age of 65.
Mr. Reichert, died of pancreatic cancer at age 73 in Lake Forest. He was remembered by friends and colleagues as a caring, compassionate man.
Close friend, Jim Bakula remembered him this way: "He was a very Christian man with good, deep-rooted old-fashioned values, success never turned his head one iota. He was a compassionate person who always identified with everybody and always believed in doing the right thing. He felt it was important to give back and was tithing to his church even when he didn't have the money to give."
"He was a wonderful leader, a caring person and very inspirational," said Adrian Sakowicz, an assistant vice president of Brunswick. "He really had a tremendous value system, and he would stress that to all of the employees at all of the levels continuously. He would always say the employees are the most important part of the company, and he really meant it. He would speak about how we needed to be upstanding and run a solid company for the good of all the people who worked there."
Jack and Corrine Reichert have two children, Susan Reichert Milanak and John Reichert. Both children serve as members of the Board of Directors of the Reichert Foundation.