Former American Express Chief Alfred F. Kelly to Lead New York Super Bowl

Former American Express Co. (AXP) President Alfred F. Kelly Jr. will be chief executive officer of the committee organizing the New York-area Super Bowl in 2014.

Kelly, 52, will lead preparations for the National Football League’s first open-air, cold-weather Super Bowl, scheduled for 2014 at the $1.6 billion stadium shared by the New York Giants and Jets in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the host committee said in a statement.

“We believe we have secured one of the best minds in the business world to guide us as we set out on this historic endeavor,” Jets owner Woody Johnson, co-chairman of the committee along with Giants Treasurer Jonathan Tisch, said in the statement.

Kelly rose to lead day-to-day operations for American Express’s consumer business, including credit cards, customer service and global banking, after starting at the company in 1987 in the strategic planning department, the statement said.

Kelly said he was attracted by the chance to help organize a game that last year became the most-watched television broadcast in U.S. history.

“This is the biggest game, on the biggest stage, in an area that’s got a lot of other things going on,” Kelly said in a telephone interview. “We want to make sure we take the fullest advantage of it.”

Departure Reason

Kelly resigned as American Express’s president in October 2009 to seek a top job at another company because Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Chenault intended to remain for the “foreseeable future,” Joanna Lambert, a company spokeswoman, said at the time. American Express said in a 2009 federal filing that Kelly was eligible for separation and bonus payments of at least $13.7 million.

NFL owners voted in May 2010 to hold the Super Bowl in New Meadowlands Stadium. Commissioner Roger Goodell said at the time the benefits of staging the championship game of the U.S.’s most-watched television sport in the nation’s financial and media capital outweighed the risk of snow and freezing temperatures.

Kelly, who was born in Bronxville and raised in the New York area, said the region does “an incredible job” with snow removal, helping people get to work after blizzards. Dallas struggled to remove ice from a storm that stalled commuters and tourists in the week before this year’s Super Bowl.

Kelly said the committee would work with local agencies to prepare for snow or other inclement weather.

“Snow, ice and cold weather are not going to come as a surprise to this region,” Kelly said. “One of the things we will plan for is a huge snowstorm.”

Organizers said the game may be worth as much as $500 million to the local economy.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aaron Kuriloff in New York at akuriloff@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net.

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