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Gary D Cohn

Birthplace: Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Private and Private
Husband of Private
Father of Private and Private
Brother of Private and Private

Managed by: Alex Bickle
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

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About Gary Cohn

Gary D. Cohn (born August 27, 1960) is an American investment banker. He is currently the president and COO of investment banking and securities firm Goldman Sachs.

Early life and education

Gary Cohn was born to an eastern European Jewish family, the son of Victor and Ellen Cohn; and was raised in Shaker Heights, Ohio. His father was an electrician who later became a real estate developer. Cohn studied at Gilmour Academy, and received his bachelor's degree from American University's Kogod School of Business.


Cohn started his career at the U.S. Steel home products division in Cleveland, Ohio. After a few months, he left U.S. Steel and started his career as an options dealer in the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Cohn was recruited by Goldman Sachs in 1990. He was named head of the commodities department, part of Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Division (FICC) of the firm, in 1996; in September 2002, he was named head of the division. Since January 2004 Cohn was the co-head of global securities businesses and he was the co-head of Equities since 2003. He was head of the global securities businesses from December 2003, and became President and Co-Chief Operating Officer, and director, in June 2006.

Cohn hosted the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference which took place in San Francisco in February 2015. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc, was on the program as a speaker, answering questions posed to him by Cohn.

Goldman Sachs has fallen under intense scrutiny for creating or pitching products used by Greece to "obscure billions in debt from the budget overseers in Brussels". Cohn led a delegation from Goldman Sachs in late 2009 for meetings which included proposals – not adopted by the Greek government – to place debt-due dates far into the future, "much as when strapped homeowners take out second mortgages to pay off their credit cards."

Personality and work style

Critics of Cohn attribute to him an arrogant, aggressive, abrasive and risk-prone work style. They see his "6-foot 3-inch & 220 lbs" as intimidating, as he might "sometimes hike up one leg, plant his foot on a trader's desk, his thigh close to the employee's face and ask how markets were doing"[7] According to former Bear Stearns Asset Management CEO Richard Marin, Cohn's arrogance is at the root of the problem.

When you become arrogant, in a trading sense, you begin to think that everybody's a counterparty, not a customer, not a client.

Cohn's supporters see these qualities as advantages. Michael Ovitz, co-founder and former chairman of Creative Artists Agency and former president of The Walt Disney Company, stated that he is impressed with Cohn. Ovitz said:

"He’s a trader. He has that whole feel in his body and brain and fingertips.”

Ovitz sees Cohn's toughness as a "positive” value, explaining that a high ranking executive can’t be “all peaches and cream.”

Donna Redel, who was Chairman of the Board of the New York Mercantile Exchange when Cohn worked there as a silver trader, remembers Cohn as “firm,” “strategic” and “driven.” Martin Greenberg, her predecessor, said Cohn "was tough,” and added that “Gary got in with the right people, worked his ass off and used his head.”


Cohn and his wife are founding board members of the New York University Child Study Center. The couple funded the Pevaroff Cohn Professorship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine in 1999. He financed the Gary D. Cohn Endowed Research Professorship in Finance at American University, his alma mater, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in finance.

In 2009, the Hillel building at Kent State University was named the Cohn Jewish Student Center in recognition of a gift from Cohn and his wife. It is the first Hillel building built directly on the campus of a state university.

Cohn has been a supporter of Harlem RBI since 2011. At that time Harlem RBI was given the chance to build their own charter school. Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees and Harlem RBI’s director Rich Berlin asked Cohn if he could help them raise the capital they needed to build the school.

In December 2012, Cohn attended the 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief which raised money for the Robin Hood Relief fund to help victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Cohn is active as a trustee of his alma mater, American University, and of his school, Gilmour Academy.

In 2010 the Hospital for Joint Diseases at NYU Langone Medical Center named Cohn the chairman of the HJD Advisory Board.

On June 17, 2013 Cohn was honored at the annual “Bid for Kids” gala in order to raise funds for Harlem RBI and the DREAM charter school. Cohn said in an interview that Harlem RBI is a project that is “very near and dear to his heart.”

Cohn is a member of the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.

Cohn has contributed his opinions on finance and business in prestigious journals and newspapers. In March, 2014 he wrote an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal discussing, “The Responsible Way to Rein in Super-Fast Trading."

Cohn is a member of the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County.

Personal life

Cohn is married to Lisa Pevaroff-Cohn. They have three daughters and they reside in New York City.

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Gary Cohn's Timeline

August 27, 1960
Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, United States