Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required







We seek to provide information, insights and direction that may enable the Financial Community to effectively and efficiently operate in a regulatory risk-free environment by curating content from all over the web.


Stay Informed with the latest fanancialish news.





Peter A. Cohen: Architect of Cowen’s Deal with a Chinese Conglomerate

April 3, 2017

Last week, we reported that CEFC China Energy, a Chinese conglomerate, will buy a 20% stake in Cowen Group and provide debt financing – a $275 million cash infusion. [See Financialish, 3/31/17]  


The architect of the deal is Peter A. Cohen, Cowen Group Chair and CEO. Mr. Cohen came to Cowen 8 years ago, merging his alt-investment company, Ramius, with Jeffrey Solomon’s Cowen & Company to form The Cowen Group.


According to NYT Dealbook, Mr. Cohen has built on Cowen Group’s core health care franchise, but a slump in IPOs threatens his ambitions. But he believes he has found a solution: Chinese cash and connections.


You may know Peter Cohen better as …  the former Chairman and CEO of Shearson Lehman Brothers. Let’s have a look at his extensive Wall Street career – largely drawn from and


Peter A. Cohen, 70, served as Chairman and CEO of Shearson Lehman Brothers, later known as Shearson Lehman Hutton, from 1983 through 1990. Today, as noted above, he is as Chairman and CEO of Cowen Group, formerly known as Cowen & Company.


  • Mr. Cohen began his career on Wall Street at Reynolds & Co., which later became part of Dean Witter Reynolds and, in 1970, joined CBWL-Hayden Stone.
  • In 1973, Cohen took a position as Assistant to the firm's chairman, Sanford Weill, the architect of a major consolidation of brokerage and investment banking firms in the 1960s and 1970s.
  • Cohen remained with the firm through its various mergers in the 1970s, including Shearson, Hammill & Co. and Loeb, Rhoades, Hornblower & Co.
  • In 1978, Cohen left Shearson for one year to work for Edmond Safra at Republic New York Corporation and the Trade Development Bank before returning to Shearson in 1979.
  • In 1981, Shearson merged with American Express, at which time he became President & COO.
  • In 1983, Cohen became Chairman and CEO; at age 36, Cohen was by far the youngest head of a major Wall Street firm; he remained in those positions until 1990.
    • In 1988, Cohen was a key player in the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco. Cohen and Shearson Lehman supported the company's CEO F. Ross Johnson in a proposed $17 billion buyout.
    • Ultimately, Johnson and Cohen lost their bid for the company and RJR Nabisco was acquired by the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.
    • Cohen was portrayed by Peter Riegert in the 1993 film Barbarians at the Gate depicting the RJR Nabisco buyout.
  • In 1991, Cohen founded the securities and asset management businesses of Republic National Bank of New York.
  • From November 1992 to May 1994, Cohen was Vice Chairman and a director of Republic New York; he was also Chairman of Republic’s subsidiary, Republic New York Securities Corporation.
  • In 1994, Cohen commenced the activities around which Ramius was formed.


Over his career, Mr. Cohen has served on a number of corporate, industry and philanthropic boards, including the NYSE, The Federal Reserve Int’l Capital Markets Advisory Committee, and DTC.