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David L. Cohen to Receive 2011 William Penn Award

Posted Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

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The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation, will receive the 2011 William Penn Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a business executive in Greater Philadelphia. The award, which has been given annually since 1949, recognizes an individual for his/her outstanding contributions toward the betterment of the region, professional accomplishments, and commitment to charity as well as to the community. Mr. Cohen will be honored at a gala on April 20, 2012 at the Hyatt at the Bellevue. The event will be sponsored by Wells Fargo.

Mr. Cohen has served the Greater Philadelphia community as both a civic and private sector leader for decades.   In his current role at Comcast, Mr. Cohen has a broad portfolio of responsibilities, including overseeing corporate communications, government affairs, public affairs, and corporate administration and serves as senior counselor to the CEO.  Recently, he oversaw and shepherded the government approval for Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUniversal.

In October 2010, Mr. Cohen completed a two-year term as Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.  During his tenure, Mr. Cohen championed public education funding and accountability, helped improve the Chamber’s impressive diversity record, and oversaw the increased working relationship between the business community and the City of Philadelphia.

“David Cohen is a true civic leader who has dedicated a tremendous amount of his time to both the private and public sectors. Our region has benefited greatly due to his commitment to improving our community,” said Rob Wonderling, President and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. “I am honored to have worked for him when he served as the GPCC Chairman and look forward to working with him in the future to continue to make our region a better place to live and work.”

Under Mr. Cohen’s leadership, the Chamber took a renewed leadership role in promoting education funding equity and in pursuing a series of diversity-related initiatives, including the CEO Access Network in 2010, an initiative that pairs owners of small minority owned business with senior executives from Chamber member companies. To date, about 35 minority businesses have participated.  Also during Mr. Cohen’s tenure as Chair, the Chamber began an initiative to engage Chamber-member executives who are driving diversity and inclusion initiatives at their organizations called the Diversity and Inclusion Executives Network, which continues to this day.  In addition, the Chamber led the creation of the Mayor’s Private Sector Outreach Board under Mr. Cohen’s watch, which worked with City Reform teams to improve efficiencies and reduce City spending.

 “Serving the communities in and around Philadelphia in various public and private roles throughout my professional life has been a great passion and honor.  This region is home to some of the country’s most prestigious academic institutions, best hospitals, deepest history and most innovative companies. I have had the pleasure of playing a role in supporting many of these organizations and look forward to continuing to help highlight the wonderful things this region has to offer,” said Mr. Cohen.

Prior to joining Comcast in July of 2002, Mr. Cohen served as a Partner in and Chairman of Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP, one of the 100 largest law firms in the country.

Mr. Cohen also served as Chief of Staff to the Honorable Edward G. Rendell, the Mayor of the City of Philadelphia and played a critical coordinating role in significant budgetary and financial issues, economic development activities, and a variety of other policy and operational issues relating to the city.

Mr. Cohen’s devotion to Greater Philadelphia includes serving on many distinguished boards and committees. He currently serves on the Board and Executive Committee of the Chamber and is a member of the CEO Council for Growth. He also serves as Chairman of the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania and its Executive Committee and is a member of the Trustee Board and the Executive Committee of Penn Medicine (an umbrella governance structure overseeing both the University of Pennsylvania Health System and the University’s School of Medicine).  Mr. Cohen is also a Trustee of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

Nationally, Mr. Cohen serves as a national Trustee of City Year and is Chair of the Governance Committee and a member of the Executive Committee.  He also serves on the national board of the National Urban League and chairs its Audit Committee, and serves as a member of the Corporate Advisory Board of the National Council of La Raza. 

A native of New York, Mr. Cohen graduated from Swarthmore College in 1977 with a BA and with a JD, summa cum laude from University of Pennsylvania Law School. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and their two sons.

Past William Penn Award recipients include Joseph A. Frick, former Independence Blue Cross President and CEO; Charles Pizzi, former Tasty Baking Company President and CEO; H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, cable TV pioneer and philanthropist; the late Constantine Papadakis, Ph.D., President, Drexel University; William R. Sasso, Esq., Chairman of StradleyRonon LLP; Nick DeBenedictis, Chairman and President of Aqua America Inc.; Ed Snider, Chairman of Comcast-Spectacor; Judith Rodin, former President, University of Pennsylvania; Ralph J. Roberts, Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Comcast Corporation; G. Fred DiBona, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer, Independence Blue Cross; Ronald Rubin, President, Pennsylvania Realty Investment Trust; Ambassador Walter H. Annenberg; and, Rev. Leon Sullivan, Founder of OIC.

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