William D. Cohan

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William David Cohan[1]
Born (1960-02-20) February 20, 1960 (age 63)[1]
EducationPhillips Academy
Alma materDuke University[2]
Columbia School of Journalism[2]
Columbia University Graduate School of Business[2]
Occupation(s)financial journalist
mergers and acquisitions
Notable workThe Price of Silence (2014)
Money and Power (2011)
House of Cards (2009)
The Last Tycoons (2007)
PartnerDeborah Gail Futter[2]
RelativesPeter Cohan, brother
Awards2007 Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award for The Last Tycoons

William David Cohan (born 1960) is an American business writer.

Early life and education[edit]

Cohan was born in Worcester, Massachusetts on February 20, 1960.[1] His father was an accountant and his mother worked in administration.[2] Cohan is a graduate of Duke University, Columbia University School of Journalism, and Columbia University Graduate School of Business.


Cohan was an investigative reporter for the Raleigh Times. He then worked on Wall Street for seventeen years as a mergers and acquisitions banker. He spent six years at Lazard Frères in New York, then Merrill Lynch, and later became a managing director at JP Morgan Chase. He also worked for two years at GE Capital. Since 2013, he has served as a trustee of the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park, NC.

Vanity Fair controversy[edit]

In 2019, Cohan alleged the possibility that US president Donald Trump or someone close to him had used advance knowledge of political developments to profit from insider trading, publicized in two articles for Vanity Fair titled "'Who Knew Trump Would Offer a Truce With Xi?': The Mystery of the Wall Street Trump Trades" and "'There Is Definite Hanky-Panky Going On': The Fantastically Profitable Mystery of the Trump Chaos Trades".[3][4][5] Cohan's second article caused congressional representatives Ted Lieu and Kathleen Rice to call for a federal investigation, but several experts interviewed by Bloomberg News questioned the evidence, while Cohan stood by the article but distanced himself from the implied conclusion ("I don’t make any allegations, I don’t know what really happened").[6] Writing in Slate, Felix Salmon called Cohan's articles "bullshit", arguing that he had no evidence that the trades in question were unusual, or that they had yielded the alleged profits, or that insider knowledge had been involved at all.[5] Further, Terry Duffy, the CEO of CME Group, the company that operates the exchange where the futures are traded, questioned Cohan's understanding of the data: “[Cohan] mistakenly summed up all volume for those derivatives during spans of time and implausibly attributed that buying and selling, spread across thousands of transactions, to a single bad actor or group of cheaters."[7] Cohan's piece, however, is explicit that the trades may have been carried out by many individuals and that "There is no way ... to know who is making these trades. But regulators know or can find out."

Personal life[edit]

In 1991 he married editor Deborah Gail Futter in a Jewish ceremony.[2]



  1. ^ a b c d Search Results | City of Worcester, MA
  2. ^ a b c d e f Ms. Futter Weds William D. Cohan - The New York Times
  3. ^ Cohan, William D. (2019-07-08). "'Who Knew Trump Would Offer a Truce With Xi?': The Mystery of the Wall Street Trump Trades". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  4. ^ Cohan, William D. (2019-10-16). "'There Is Definite Hanky-Panky Going On': The Fantastically Profitable Mystery of the Trump Chaos Trades". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  5. ^ a b Salmon, Felix (2019-10-17). "Don't Believe Vanity Fair's Story About Futures Traders Making Billions Off of Trump Chaos". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  6. ^ "Analysts Have a Few Problems With Trump 'Chaos Trades' Article". Bloomberg. 2019-10-18.
  7. ^ "Vanity Fair's Trump Trade Story 'Nonsensical,' Exchange CEO Says". Bloomberg. 2019-10-24.
  8. ^ Rutten, Tim (March 6, 2009). "'House of Cards' by William D. Cohan". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  9. ^ Rider, Tiffany (November 23, 2009). "Former banker examines US financial meltdown; Cohan says his mission is to get a response to questions left unanswered by Wall Street CEOs". Daily 49er. Vol. LIX, no. 177. www.daily49er.com. Retrieved 2014-05-22.
  10. ^ "Long on chutzpah, short on friends; Goldman Sachs". The Economist [US]. 16 April 2011. p. 88(US). Retrieved 2012-03-04.
  11. ^ "The Price of Silence: The Duke Lacrosse Scandal, the Power of the Elite, and the Corruption of Our Great Universities". Scribner. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  12. ^ "Four Friends". Macmillan Publishers. Retrieved 28 March 2019.

External links[edit]