William S. Cohen spent 31 years in public service in positions including mayor of Bangor, Maine; member of the U.S. Congress in the House of Representatives and then in the Senate; and finally as the 20th Secretary of Defense from 1997-2001. While in the Senate he served in leadership positions on the Special Committee on Aging, the Armed Services Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on Governmental Affairs, among others. In 1996, President Bill Clinton selected then-Senator Cohen to be Secretary of Defense, marking the first time in modern U.S. history that a President has chosen an elected official from the other party to be a member of his cabinet.
Secretary Cohen is currently chairman and chief executive officer of The Cohen Group. He serves as a board member, and is a former vice chairman (2011-2013), of the U.S.-China Business Council. He also serves on the corporate board of CBS, as a board member of the U.S.-India Business Council and as a counselor, and trustee at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. In addition, Secretary Cohen is an advisor to the mayor of the Tianjin Municipal Government and an honorary professor at Nankai University.
Born in Bangor, Maine, Secretary Cohen obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin from Bowdoin College in 1962 and a Juris Doctorate degree from Boston University in 1965. He has published thirteen books, including six novels, five works of non-fiction, and two volumes of poetry.