It is highly unusual to become an All-American football player at Rutgers. It is even more unusual to become the executive vice president/creative director of Young & Rubicam at the age of 33. Alex Kroll has been both. He has also - in rapid succession - been manager of Y&R New York, manager of Y&R U.S., president and COO, and chairman and CEO of Young & Rubicam Inc.
He joined Y&R as a trainee in 1962 but left four months later to play tackle for the New York Titans, predecessors of the New York Jets, in the old American Football League. After the season, he rejoined Y&R as a copywriter and found the job so exciting that he retired from football.
During his 10 years as CEO, Y&R’s worldwide billings increased 2 1/2 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.
He also made a multi-million-dollar investment in the BrandAsset® Valuator - an unprecedented worldwide study of consumer attitudes towards brands.
Kroll also has made important contributions to our industry. As chairman of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, he developed research that showed that many brands were advertising at levels far lower than those that built them. He also campaigned courageously against negative political advertising, which he believes is doing so much to destroy people’s faith in government.
He has served as a director of The College Fund/UNCF, and his agency’s campaign for that organization - "A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste" - has helped it raise more than half a billion dollars. He has also been a partner of the New York City Partnership; a trustee of the United States Council for International Business; and a director of the Advertising Educational Foundation, the Institute for East/West Studies and the NFL Alumni Board.
But of all Alex Kroll’s pro-bono activities, the one where he has accomplished the most is the Advertising Council. As its 1996-97 chairman, he led the council’s ambitious new "Commitment 2000" campaign - a commitment to focus most of its efforts on issues affecting America’s children.
He is a recipient of the prestigious Horatio Alger Award, the NCAA Silver Medal for Excellence, the Walter Camp Distinguished American Award and the American Jewish Committee’s National Human Relations Award. He was also elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.