Lyor Cohen is an American music industry executive. Born in New York to Israeli immigrants in 1959, Cohen grew up in Los Angeles. In 1981 he received a degree in global marketing and finance from the University of Miami. Afterwards, he worked briefly in the Beverly Hills office of Bank Leumi.
Cohen has been actively involved in hip-hop at various top labels for more than 30 years, as the industry grew from the margins of pop culture to the mainstream. He started by managing highly successful rappers for pioneering firm Rush Productions, then led Def Jam Recordings, the hip-hop genre's top record label at the time, and “the most important African-American music company since Motown” according to Newsweek. After Def Jam Cohen successively assumed the leadership of one of the music industry’s major labels, Warner Music Group, which represents popular musicians of all genres (including rap, rock, and country). In September 2012 Cohen put in his resignation at Warner Music Group and eventually started his own independent label, 300 Entertainment.
Cohen is currently on the board of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and is an acting Director for the New York-based charitable organization Boys & Girls Harbor.
Some of Cohen’s closest associates have included his longtime friend and business partner Russell Simmons, Jay Z, music executive Julie Greenwald, Jon Bon Jovi, and Kanye West, who dubbed himself “the Lyor Cohen of Dior Homme” on a 2010 recording. He had been previously romantically linked with Tory Burch.