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Cowen Announces New CEO Under Succession Plan

Peter Cohen is stepping down as CEO later this month while continuing his role as chairman.

  • By Alicia McElhaney

Cowen has announced succession plans, promoting President Jeffrey Solomon to become the financial firm’s next chief executive officer.

Solomon will take over from CEO Peter Cohen on December 27 while keeping his role as president, the firm said Friday. Cohen, founder of Cowen’s predecessor firm Ramius Capital, will continue to serve as chairman.

“We have transformed Cowen over the last eight years, through a series of acquisitions and organic initiatives, into an organization that has a solid foundation with tremendous growth opportunities,” Cohen said in the firm’s statement. “It is the right time for Jeff, a close and trusted partner of mine for 28 years, to take the reins.”

New York-based Cowen joins other financial firms this year, including KKR & Co. and Carlyle Group, in announcing leadership changes tied to succession planning.

“Founding Ramius Capital in 1994, growing it into a multi-billion-dollar alternative investment manager, acquiring Cowen in 2009, and leading the combined organization has been a privilege and great source of pride to me,” Cohen said in the statement. “Jeff’s new responsibilities enable me to focus my attention on creating additional value for all of our stakeholders as well as broadening and deepening the firm’s key relationships.”

Before becoming president, Solomon served as Cowen’s chief operating officer and head of investment banking, according to the firm’s website. The decision to promote him as CEO follows a recent staffing shakeup at Cowen.

[II Deep Dive: Cowen’s Investment Banking Unit Names Co-Presidents]

The firm said Nov. 1 that Dan Charney and Larry Wieseneck would become co-presidents of its banking unit and join a newly created management committee responsible for executing Cowen’s long-term strategy. A spokesperson for Cowen didn’t return a phone call seeking comment about the latest leadership changes.

Private equity firms KKR and Carlyle have also revealed details of their succession planning in recent months.

In October, Carlyle founders David Rubenstein and William Conway announced that they would step down as co-CEOs at the beginning of next year to make way for Kewsong Lee and Glenn Youngkin to take on the roles. KKR said in July that Joe Bae and Scott Nuttall would become co-presidents and co-COOs, a decision signaling the firm’s plans for succession even as Henry Kravis and George Roberts remain in their co-chair and co-CEO positions.

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