|Green Bay Packers|
|Position:||President and CEO|
|Born:||September 9, 1936|
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
|As an executive:|
|Career highlights and awards|
|President, Green Bay Packers|
|Preceded by||Robert J. Parins|
|Succeeded by||Mark Murphy|
Robert "Bob" Ernest Harlan (born September 9, 1936) was an American football executive who served as the president of the Green Bay Packers for 19 years. Harlan also held the titles of Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer for the Packers. He is a graduate of Marquette University, where he was the Sports Information Director for many years. In 1971, he was hired by the Packers as assistant general manager and for the next 18 years was promoted to executive vice president. In 1989, after the retirement of Robert J. Parins, Harlan was elected as the Packers' ninth president, a position he held until 2008. Harlan became the first team president whose background was solely football; all previous presidents of the Packers were local civic leaders or businessmen in the Green Bay, Wisconsin area. During his tenure as president, the Packers achieved a number of successes both on and off the field. Harlan led a stock sale to raise funds for renovations to Lambeau Field, oversaw the construction of the Don Hutson Center, a new training area next to Lambeau Field, and moved all Packers home games back to Green Bay (from 1933 to 1994, the Packers split their home games between Green Bay and Milwaukee, Wisconsin). On the field, Harlan hired Ron Wolf to be the team's new general manager. Wolf led a renaissance of the Packers on-field performance with an instrumental trade for quarterback Brett Favre and signing free agent Reggie White. These successes culminated in the Packers winning Super Bowl XXXI, the team's first championship since Super Bowl II. In 2008, Harlan resigned the position of president and was succeeded by Mark Murphy. As of 2023[update] he still sits on the Packers' Board of Directors and holds the title of Chairman Emeritus.
Bob Harlan was born on September 9, 1936, in Des Moines, Iowa. Harlan's father, Sy Harlan, was president of the Bruce Motor Freight Co. At the age 17, he won a junior golf championship in his hometown. Harlan attended Marquette University where he graduated in 1958 with a bachelor's degree in journalism.
Harlan started his career with the Green Bay Packers in 1971 as an assistant general manager. Over the next 18 years he was promoted three times, first as corporate general manager in 1975, then as assistant to the president in 1981, and finally as executive vice president of administration in 1988. On June 5, 1989, he was elected as the ninth president of the Packers after the resignation of former president Robert J. Parins. Harlan would go on to serve as president for 18 seasons until 2008. His tenure was marked with "some of the largest moves in franchise history" that made him one of the "most influential—and successful—president[s] in franchise history".
Bob Harlan is credited with keeping the Packers competitive in the era of free agency and the salary cap, and for creating the foundation for the Packers' twelfth World Championship in Super Bowl XXXI.
Among Harlan's most notable accomplishments are:
On May 26, 2007, the Packers announced that John Jones would be taking an indefinite "leave of absence" only days before Jones was scheduled to succeed Harlan as new CEO of the organization. Health concerns were the major reason cited for Jones' departure. In late July 2007, the Packers and Jones officially cut ties and a new search for the Packers President and CEO commenced. Harlan retained his position as CEO throughout the search, although the President position remained vacant. On December 3, 2007, the Green Bay Packers announced Mark H. Murphy, the Northwestern University Athletics Director, as its new President and CEO effective January 1, 2008. Harlan remained as Chairman-Emeritus and advisor to the team through the 2008 season, afterwards, he remained as Chairman-Emeritus and serve as a goodwill ambassador for the team.
Harlan was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame on July 17, 2004. Harlan was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009.
Harlan and his wife Madeline have lived in Green Bay since the early 1960s and are active in the community. The Harlans created the Madeline and Robert Harlan Humanitarian Fund, which provides assistance to cancer patients who do not have insurance. The inspiration for this fund was Harlan's diagnosis of melanoma and subsequent treatment in 2003.