Steve Cohen, a former top aide and longtime advisor to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is leaving the investment company led by Ron Perelman where he has served as general counsel to start his own firm.

“Steve has been a valued member of the Office of Chairman as General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer for eight years," said MacAndrews & Forbes spokesman Josh Vlasto. "During that time, Steve established a great team and we agreed this is the right time to 'pass the torch'. Steve will be pursuing outside business opportunities, starting his own firm and will continue to serve as a legal advisor to the Company.”

Cohen has worked for Cuomo in a variety of roles, including secretary for the governor during a crucial first year that Cuomo was in office as well as a top advisor when Cuomo was New York's attorney general. 

MacAndrews & Forbes will be Cohen's first client at his new firm. He is set to remain on the board of the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center.

Cohen, like his fellow former secretarys Larry Schwartz and Bill Mulrow, has continued to provide advice to the governor. All three appeared with Cuomo during one of his many daily coronavirus briefings earlier this year. 

Fran Townsend, a board member of Scientific Games, is being tapped to replace Cohen at Perelman's company.

“Fran Townsend has been named Vice Chairman, General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer," Vlasto said. "Fran has been with M&F since 2010 serving as Executive Vice President, Worldwide Government, Legal and Business Affairs and has had a long and distinguished career in both the public and private sector.”