IBM announced Tuesday that the former Trump advisor and Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn will join the New York-based tech giant as Vice Chairman.
In a statement, IBM said that Cohn would also join the company’s executive leadership team and work closely with IBM chief Arvind Krishna “on a wide range of business initiatives and external engagement.”
Cohn, 60, helped lead Goldman from 2006 to 2017 serving as COO and top lieutenant to then-CEO Lloyd Blankfein.
He left Goldman at the end of 2016 to join the Trump administration where he played a key role on the president’s corporate tax cuts and regulatory agenda.
Since leaving the White House in early 2018, the 6’3″ outspoken executive joined in on the SPAC craze by teaming up with investor Larry Robbins to list $1 billion blank check company Cohn Robbins Holding Corp.
“I am honored to be joining IBM,” Cohn said in a statement. “One of the world’s most important companies, providing technology that helps organizations be agile and resilient in unpredictable times.”
In a tweet, Cohn assured his SPAC investors that he would remain involved in finding a business to take public.
“My commitment to Cohn Robbins Holdings Corp. is unwavering,” he tweeted.
Wall Street insiders were intrigued by the news.
“That’s a weird move,” mused one former Goldman exec. “But it looks to me like IBM is hiring Gary for his Rolodex, and he has one of the best in the business.”
While the notoriously chatty Cohn has been relatively quiet since returning to the private sector, he could not hide from reports that he played chicken with his old firm on paying back millions that Goldman attempted to clawback in relation to the firm’s huge fines from the 1MDB scandal.
In October, Goldman announced that it had reached a record-setting $2.9 billion settlement with regulators over fraud and bribery charges related to the firm’s involvement in creating the 1MDB fund for the Malaysian government, which was spent on corrupt purposes instead of building the country’s economy as intended.
The firm also announced that it would claw back $174 million from current and former executives who profited from the 1MDB deal either directly or indirectly. Because Cohn took a more than $100 million payout and severed ties with Goldman when he left for DC, he was the only executive that had to agree to pay back the money.
Goldman went out of its way in a public statement to allude to the negotiations with Cohn without naming him directly.
In December, Cohn disclosed that he had agreed to put the matter to rest by donating an unspecified amount to charities approved by Goldman. Sources told The Post at the time that Cohn’s donations were “in the millions” while others pointed out that charitable donations are tax-deductible, and paying back your old megabank is not.
IBM shares traded up 1.8 percent on Tuesday after the announcement.