Robert Kraft Biography
Sun Sign: Gemini
Also Known As: Robert K. Kraft
Born in: Brookline
Famous as: Business Tycoon
Spouse/Ex-: Myra Kraft
father: Harry Kraft
children: Jonathan Kraft
City: Brookline, Massachusetts
U.S. State: Massachusetts
education: Harvard Business School, Columbia University, Brookline High School, Harvard University
Robert Kraft is an American business magnate who is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Kraft Group. A big time fan of football, he also has several sports holdings including the National Football League's New England Patriots, and Major League Soccer's New England Revolution. He made the headlines in 1994 when he purchased the Patriots who had won just 19 games the previous five seasons, making people wonder if the intelligent businessman had somehow made a big mistake. But, the Patriots bounced back to become one of the most successful teams in NFL history, proving once again how smart Kraft’s business decisions are. Born into an orthodox Jewish family in Massachusetts, he was groomed to be a rabbi when he was young. However, fate had other plans for him. He went to receive an MBA from Harvard Business School and became the chairman of the Newton Democratic City Committee at the age of 27. Intelligent and ambitious, he began working with his father-in-law in the Rand-Whitney Group before founding International Forest Products. In keeping up with his love of sports, he also purchased sports teams like Boston Lobsters, New England Patriots, and New England Revolution. He eventually founded the Kraft Group as a holding company to control his myriad business holdings. In addition, he is also a well-known philanthropist who has donated over $100 million to a variety of philanthropic causes.
- Robert Kenneth Kraft was born on June 5, 1941, in Brookline, Massachusetts, U.S. into an Orthodox Jewish family. His father, Harry Kraft, was a dress manufacturer. His parents wanted Robert to become a rabbi on growing up.
- He received his primary education from the Edward Devotion School and moved on to Brookline High School from where he graduated in 1959. He was a good student and the senior class president in high school. He loved sports but was unable to participate in any of them as it interfered with his after-school Hebrew studies and observance of the Sabbath.
- He received a scholarship to attend Columbia University. At Columbia he joined Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity and played running back and safety on the school's freshman and lightweight football teams.
- He fell in love while still at the university and got married in June 1963. He graduated from Columbia later the same year and went on to pursue an MBA from Harvard Business School, earning the degree in 1965.
- Robert Kraft began working with the Rand-Whitney Group, a Worcester-based packaging company run by his father-in-law. Hard working and intelligent, he found much success as a professional and was soon able to gain control of the company through a leveraged buyout in 1968.
- He also had an interest in politics and was elected chairman of the Newton Democratic City Committee. He gave a thought to running against Massachusetts's 3rd congressional district Representative Philip J. Philbin in 1970 but decided not to.
- An enterprising individual, it did not take Robert Kraft long to found his own business, International Forest Products, a company trading in physical paper commodities, in 1972. This venture too proved to be a great success.
- By the 1980s he started investing the proceeds from his businesses in various ventures. He invested in New England Television Corp which gained control of WNAC-TV, and became a director of the board in 1983. The station was then renamed to WNEV-TV and he was named president of the corporation in 1986.
- A long time football fan, he purchased the professional American football team, New England Patriots, in 1994 for $175 million. At the time of the purchase, the Patriots had won just 19 games the previous five seasons, and people, including his own wife questioned this decision.
- In 1998, he founded the Kraft Group LLC as the holding company to own and operate his several business ventures in professional sports, manufacturing, and real estate development industries. It is based in Massachusetts.
- Ever since he took over the ownership of the Patriots, the team started performing well. The Patriots’ current coach, Bill Belichick, was hired in 2000, and under his guidance the team won three Super Bowls in four years (2001, 2003, and 2004), and finished the 2007 regular season with a perfect 16–0 record. In 2015, they won Super Bowl XLIX, defeating the Seattle Seahawks by a score of 28-24.
- Robert Kraft is the founder of the Kraft Group which is a private holding company comprised of companies in the paper and packaging industries, sports and entertainment, and private equity investing including Kraft Sports Group, Rand-Whitney Group, International Forest Products and more than 30 private equity investments.
- He was awarded the Columbia University Alexander Hamilton Medal in 2004.
- In 2006, he became the recipient of Theodore Roosevelt Award.
- In 2011 Kraft was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
- More recently, he was presented with the Carnegie Hall Medal of Excellence Award in 2013.
- Robert Kraft is a very well-known philanthropist who along with his other family members has donated over $100 million to a variety of philanthropic causes in areas related to education, child and women issues, healthcare, youth sports and American and Israeli causes.
- The Krafts have supported several institutions including Columbia University, Harvard Business School, Brandeis University, the College of the Holy Cross, and Boston College.
- He also serves on the Board of Directors for Viacom, the Executive Committee of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, and the Executive Committee of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
- Robert Kraft met Myra Nathalie Hiatt while still a college student and immediately fell in love with her. She was the daughter of the businessman and philanthropist Jacob Hiatt. The couple got married in June 1963. Theirs was a happy marriage that produced four sons. Unfortunately Myra died of cancer in 2011 leaving Robert devastated.
- After a year of his wife’s expiry, Kraft began dating actress Ricki Noel Lander.
- Robert Kraft has an estimated net worth of US $ 4.3 billion.
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