Alex Kroll

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Alex Kroll
No. 55
Position: Center
Personal information
Born: (1937-11-23) November 23, 1937 (age 80)
Leechburg, Pennsylvania
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight: 230 lb (104 kg)
Career information
College: Yale, Rutgers
NFL Draft: 1959 / Round: 27 / Pick: 320
AFL draft: 1962 / Round: 2 / Pick: 13
Career history
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Alexander Stanley Kroll (born November 23, 1937) is a former professional American football player and a retired advertising agency executive at Young & Rubicam, where he served as CEO for ten years.

Early life and football[edit]

Kroll's father worked in one of Leechburg, Pennsylvania's many steel mills. Growing up, Kroll had a large extended family that served as a support network. He was captain of the football team and ranked second in his class academically, Alex chose to attend Yale University on an academic scholarship. He played on Yale's varsity football team, but a physical argument with a young associate professor got Kroll expelled during his sophomore year.[1]

He enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving two years in the military police and finished his undergraduate degree at Rutgers University. While there, he captained the football team and played center on the school's first undefeated football team, making all seven All-American teams in 1961, while leading the team to a 17-1 record in his two seasons[2] and becoming a Henry Rutgers Scholar along the way.[1]

Kroll was a 1962 player for the American Football League's New York Titans (later the Jets), playing center and offensive tackle.[3] In the off-season he worked as an advertising trainee with Young & Rubicam (Y&R).

Advertising career[edit]

Alex Kroll spent his entire business career in advertising at Young & Rubicam, where he rose from copywriter in 1963 to CEO in 1985, retiring as Chairman and CEO at the end of 1994. Kroll rose rapidly through the ranks in just his first seven years, becoming Executive Vice-President and Creative Director at the agency in 1970 at the age of 33.[4]

During his 10 years as CEO, Y&R's worldwide billings increased 2½ times, to $8 billion, and its offices more than doubled, to 331. Under his leadership, Y&R opened the first advertising agencies in Russia and China and built the largest agency network in Central and Eastern Europe. Bravo grew into America's largest Hispanic agency. And, Y&R acquired Landor, the world's leading identity and design company.


Kroll served as Chairman both for the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Advertising Council, the organization which produces most of the important public service advertising in the United States. Under his leadership in 1997, the Council launched an initiative to direct donated media to highlight public causes.[citation needed]

Kroll stepped down from Young and Rubicam in 1994, but still kept busy after his retirement, serving as a senior adviser to the Bill Bradley Presidential Exploratory Committee in 1998, which was formed by former U.S. Senate Democrat Bill Bradley of New Jersey.[5][6] The committee's intent was to explore a presidential candidacy with the Federal Election Commission.

He developed a program called "Play It Smart", which encourages football coaches to set academic goals for their students.[1] Kroll was featured in the 2009 Showtime program Full Color Football.


Kroll is a recipient of the Horatio Alger Award,[1] the NCAA Silver Medal for Excellence, the Walter Camp Distinguished American Award, and the American Jewish Committee's National Human Relations Award. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Advertising Hall of Fame.[7]

Personal life[edit]

On December 23, 1961, Alex Kroll married Phyllis Benford, whose father served as a vice president at Allegheny Ludlum Steel Corporation, in a well-publicized ceremony in Miami Beach, Florida.[8] The couple has two sons and one daughter, whom they raised in West Redding, Connecticut, before moving to Charlotte, Vermont, years later. They now live next door to their daughter and their two favorite grandchildren.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "1993 Horatio Alger Award Winner Alexander Kroll". Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  2. ^ "The Star Ledger". May 15, 2016. p. 63.
  3. ^ Kroll's 1963 Fleer football card
  4. ^ Bernice Kanner, "Alex Kroll Plays to Win", New York Magazine, 8 November 1982.
  5. ^ Richard L. Berke; James Dao (17 November 1999). "Bradley Adviser Is Linked to Tobacco Ads". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  6. ^ McCarthy, Michael (1 November 1999). "He Got Game". AdWeek. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  7. ^ "Alex Kroll, Former Chairman & CEO, Young & Rubicam Inc", American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame.
  8. ^ "Wedding, not Runners, Cause Kroll Trouble", St. Petersburg Times, December 24, 1961.