PHILADELPHIA -- David L. Cohen, executive vice president of Comcast Corporation, has been nominated to become chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania effective Nov. 7, 2009, following the conclusion of the trustees’ fall meetings.
The announcement was made by James S. Riepe, chairman of the Penn trustees. Riepe, senior advisor and retired vice chairman of T. Rowe Price Group, has been Penn’s board chair since 1999.
“David Cohen has been a long-standing and committed member of Penn’s board and will be a strong leader for the trustees and wise counsel to the University leadership,” Riepe said. “I’m looking forward to working closely with him between now and next November to ensure a seamless transition.
“Through his work and demonstrated commitment,” Riepe said, “David has earned the respect of his fellow Penn trustees, particularly in his role as chair of the Penn Medicine board. He brings the right combination of skills to the challenges that Penn and higher education will face in the years ahead.”
“Penn is blessed with an exceptionally strong, engaged and generous board, united in their passion for Penn, and no one epitomizes these qualities more than Jim Riepe,” Penn President Amy Gutmann said. “We are extremely thankful for Jim’s leadership and very grateful that he will continue his unstinting service to Penn as a member of our board after his chairmanship concludes next November. Jim will leave big shoes to fill, but we are secure in the knowledge that David Cohen possesses everything one could want in a new chair, including a love for Penn and a well-earned reputation as a thoughtful, collaborative and incisive leader.”
Cohen, who graduated from Penn’s Law School in 1981, has been a trustee since 2001. In 2002, he was named founding chairman of the board and executive committee of Penn Medicine, the umbrella governance structure created to oversee both the University’s School of Medicine and Health System. As Penn Medicine chair, he worked closely with University and Penn Medicine leadership to design and implement a successful financial turnaround at the Health System. With Arthur Rubenstein, executive vice president of the University for the Health System and dean of the School of Medicine, and Ralph Muller, CEO of the Health System, Cohen has also played an important role in strengthening Penn Medicine’s infrastructure, including development of the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, the Roberts Proton Therapy Center and the Anne and Jerome Fisher Translational Research Center, as well as the acquisition and conversion of the former Graduate Hospital into Penn Medicine at Rittenhouse.
As executive vice president of Comcast Corporation, Cohen is a member of the senior leadership team that oversees a telecommunications and entertainment conglomerate with more than 100,000 employees and more than $30 billion in revenue. Comcast is the nation’s largest cable provider, second largest residential Internet provider and fourth largest residential telephone provider. Cohen was also chairman of the law firm Ballard Spahr Andrews and Ingersoll and for five years served as chief of staff to Edward Rendell, then Philadelphia’s mayor and now governor of Pennsylvania.
Cohen has been an active member of key trustee committees at Penn, including the Executive, Audit and Compliance, Budget and Finance, Nominating and Compensation committees. He will be Penn’s first Philadelphia-based trustee chair since 1986.
Cohen is chairman of the board of directors of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Chamber’s CEO Council for Growth. A native of New York, Cohen graduated from Swarthmore College in 1977.