IBM Names Former Goldman President Gary Cohn Vice Chairman

IBM named Gary Cohn, a former top economic adviser to President Donald Trump and former president at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., as vice chairman.

IBM Names Former Goldman President Gary Cohn Vice Chairman

Cohn, 60, served as assistant to the president for economic policy and director of the National Economic Council from January 2017 until April 2018. Before serving in the White House, Cohn was president and chief operating officer at Goldman Sachs from 2006-2016, and held a number of other leadership positions during his 26 years with the investment bank.

Cohn will work with International Business Machines Corp. Chief Executive Officer Arvind Krishna on “a wide range of business initiatives and external engagement, in areas including business development, client services, public advocacy and client relationship management,” the company said in a statement Tuesday.

Krishna took the helm at Armonk, New York-based IBM as the pandemic gripped the global economy. He moved quickly to define the tech company’s future, spinning off IBM’s legacy IT-management services from its new hybrid-cloud computing and artificial intelligence unit, which the company hopes will return it to revenue growth -- and relevancy. IBM’s shares, which have declined about 7% in the past year, were up almost 1% on Tuesday in New York.

In a tweet Tuesday, Cohn said IBM’s current strategy makes it an “exciting time to begin working alongside” Krishna and IBM’s roster of clients.

Currently, Cohn is co-chairman of Cohn Robbins Holding Corp., a $720 million special-purpose acquisition company he launched with investor Cliff Robbins. He invests across sectors including cybersecurity, blockchain infrastructure, regulatory technology and medical technology. Cohn said in a tweet that his commitment to Cohn Robbins is “unwavering.”

Cohn has taken on a number of advisory roles since he resigned from the Trump administration over a disagreement about steel and aluminum tariffs, including assignments with a cybersecurity firm, a gaming company and a blockchain startup.

At one point, Cohn was seen as well positioned to rise to the head of Goldman Sachs. But that promotion eluded him before he decided to cast off his corporate jacket and join Donald Trump’s administration in Washington.

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