Robert Kraft (born June 5, 1941) is an American businessman. Robert Kraft is the Chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group, a diversified holding company with divisions focused on entertainment and real estate development.
The Kraft Group invests in the New England Patriots football team, Gillette Stadium (home stadium of the Patriots), MLS soccer team New England Revolution and Twenty-Two Liberty Holdco LLC, which holds a stake in Six Flags amusement parks, among other companies.
In September 2006, he owned The New England Patriots after signing a purchase agreement with the previous owner James Orthwein.
Robert Kraft was born in Brookline, Massachusetts. The grandson of overseas immigrants from Russia and Germany, both of whom landed at Ellis Island. His mother, Lillian (née Friedman), hailed from a Jewish family in New York City and was married to Kraft’s father, Max, who had a paper-manufacturing business. His parents divorced when he was nine years old. Kraft lived in the Boston area until his family moved to Brookline for his high school years. He attended the Dexter School in Brookline and received his A.B. from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1963, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a major in economics and sociology.
After graduating from college, Robert Kraft joined the family paper manufacturing company, International Forest Products, eventually rising to Vice President. In 1981 he became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of IPG. He led the company into a series of acquisitions, including Neenah Paper Corporation in 1985, Diamond Shamrock Corporation in 1987, and General Nutrition Corporation (GNC) in 1993. While IPG’s businesses were successful during his tenure, Kraft decided to move on to another business opportunity: The Gillette Company.
In 1985, Robert Kraft bought out Gillette Stadium and became its CEO. Under Kraft’s leadership, Gillette acquired Adams Foods International in 1986 and later merged with Braun AG’s shaving business. In 1996, Kraft became Chairman of the Gillette Company. His business model was to produce a steady stream of new products and then sell them to consumers at higher prices (rather than rely on traditional marketing).
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