Ken Cohen studied undergraduate at Northwestern University and earned his J.D. degree from Baylor Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Baylor Law Review. He earned his LL.M. from Yale Law School, where he was a Sterling Fellow.
Ken Cohen joined the Exxon’s legal department in 1977 after serving as an Assistant Professor of Law at Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis. He held a variety of staff assignments and, in 1985, he became Chief Attorney, Refining, Environment and Health. In 1989, he was named Assistant General Counsel, Exxon Company International; in 1991, he became Senior Counsel and Coordinator, Exxon Corporation Law Department. In 1995, he became General Counsel, Exxon Chemical Company; and in November 1999, he was named to his current position as Vice President of Public and Government Affairs.
In this position Cohen has worldwide responsibility for the Company's government relations, communications, media relations, global community relations and corporate citizenship activities.
He is also the head of ExxonMobil's PAC, and the head of the ExxonMobil Foundation that distributes charitable grants.
From: The Washington Post
“It's like you think this [climate change] is a moral issue”
"We didn't believe the Kyoto Protocol was an effective solution to reduce global emissions."
"We try very hard to be a good corporate citizen and take our responsibilities seriously."
"The Valdez spill was a tragic accident. We took immediate responsibility for the spill, cleaned it up and stayed with it until it was declared complete by the State of Alaska and US Coast Guard… Today, the ecosystem in Prince William Sound is healthy, robust and thriving, according to many studies carried out by experts in this area."
-Washington Post, "Viewpoint" Paid Discussion with Ken Cohen, Jun 5, 2005.
"We're very much not a denier, very much at the table with our sleeves rolled up."
-Reuters, Exxon says it never doubted climate change threat, Jun 14, 2007.
PR weekly lists political influence as one of Kenneth Cohen's “Defining qualities.”
Citing Ken Cohen, Reuters reported in 2007 that “Exxon Mobil Corp. never in the past decade doubted the risk from climate change.” Exxon, with Cohen in charge of public and government affairs, spent $23 million from 1998 to 2007 (when he was quoted) on think tanks and associations that attack the scientific evidence for human-induced global warming. From 1998-2013, ExxonMobil has spent $29,071,735 on organizations that have denied climate science and blocked global warming policy and regulatory options.
Cohen received a letter from lead scientists at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment London School of Economics and Political Science asking why Exxon, under his leadership, continues to fund climate denial groups after he had committed to cutting off funding.
As Vice President of Public and Government Affairs, Ken has presided over almost $4 million on political campaign donations the Since 1999, including the $400,000 spent in 2010. and over $100 million on lobbying since 2005.
Cohen regularly greenwashes the gas extraction process known as fracking, calling it safe and responsible. Fracking is known to use millions of gallons of toxic and radioactive wastewater, which has polluted drinking water.
Ken Cohen writes a blog on ExxonMobil’s website called “ExxonMobil perspectives” which serves as a public relations platform.
Cohen has personally donated $51,023 to political campaigns.