Gary D. Cohn was born August 27, 1960 in Ohio. He is an American investment banker and political figure. He was the chief economic advisor to President Donald Trump and Director of the National Economic Council. He was formerly the president and chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs from 2006 to 2017. Cohn is a registered Democrat, but has donated extensively to Republican politicians as well.
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 was diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age and attended four schools by the time he reached the sixth grade. Cohn studied at Gilmour Academy, and received his bachelor’s degree from American University’s Kogod School of Business.
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.
In 2009, the Hillel International 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 Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities and has supported Harlem RBI since 2011. At that time, Harlem RBI was given the chance to build its own charter school. Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees and Harlem RBI 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.”
On January 20, 2017 Cohn took office as Director of the National Economic Council (NEC) in President Donald Trump’s administration, a position which did not require Congressional confirmation. By February 11, 2017, The Wall Street Journal described Cohn as an “economic-policy powerhouse” and The New York Times called him Trump’s “go-to figure on matters related to jobs, business and growth.” With the confirmation of Trump’s December 12, 2016, nominee for Secretary of Treasury, Steve Mnuchin, being held back by Congressional hearings, Cohn filled in the “personnel vacuum” and pushed “ahead on taxes, infrastructure, financial regulation and replacing health-care law.”
Had Cohn stayed at Goldman Sachs, some believed he would have become CEO when Lloyd Blankfein vacated that office. His severance package at Goldman Sachs amounted to $285 million. Additionally, Cohn sold a stake valued at $16 million in the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world’s largest bank as of 2017.
Under the Trump administration, Cohn was cited by the press as a supporter of globalism and has been given nicknames such as “Globalist Gary” and “Carbon Tax Cohn.”
In response to differences in opinion on tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, Cohn resigned from the Trump administration on March 6, 2018.