Robert Kraft Steps Down from Apollo Board Amid Epstein Controversy

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Robert Kraft resigned from the board of Apollo Global Management, the private-equity giant which has already seen its co-founder exit due to ties to Jeffrey Epstein. Photo Credit: AP

By: Ellen Cans

Robert Kraft resigned from the board of Apollo Global Management, the private-equity giant which has already seen its co-founder exit due to ties to Jeffrey Epstein. Kraft, 79, is the chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group, a holding company which includes assets in paper and packaging, sports and entertainment, real estate development and a private equity portfolio. He is also the owner of the NFL’s New England Patriots. Last week, Kraft quietly stepped down as a director of Apollo, as per a Friday securities filing. “On April 6, 2021, Robert Kraft, a member of the Board of Directors of Apollo Global Management, informed the Company of his decision to resign as a member of the Board, effective immediately,” Apollo said in the filing.

As per the NY Post, the filing did not give a reason for the resignation, and Mr. Kraft declined to comment on Monday via his spokesperson. He has been on Apollo’s board since 2014. An insider source told the Post, that Kraft left on his own, and was not pressured to do so. Sources said that Kraft was a friend of billionaire Leon Black, who had made an immediate exit from his post as chairman and chief executive of the buyout firm on March 22nd.

The NY Post reported, quoting an inside source, that on Jan. 26 Kraft had told the Apollo board that he was planning to step down from the company by June 1, which would be his 80th birthday. That was one day following Black’s announcement that he would step down as Apollo’s CEO on or by July 31, his 70th birthday. Both ended up making unexpected early departures. In January, the board had asked Kraft to stay on while Apollo completed the company’s “transition,” the source said. It is not clear why Kraft decided to step down immediately last week. “Following Mr. Kraft’s resignation, the size of the Board shall decrease to twelve directors, two thirds of which continue to be independent directors,” Apollo said in the public filing on Friday.

The Post suggested that Kraft’s early exit may have something to do with his 2019 sex scandal, in which he was caught on tape visiting a seedy massage parlor in South Florida. In September, those charges against him were dropped, when a judge ruled the recording inadmissible as evidence.

When Kraft had joined Apollo’s board seven years ago, Black had praised him as “a seasoned executive and an exceptional leader,” adding that Apollo “will benefit greatly from his insights and expertise.”