Goldman Pioneer, Steinhardt Partner Cook Dies

Oct 7 2013 | 8:58am ET

Karen Strauss Cook, Goldman Sachs' first female trader and a longtime partner of hedge-fund pioneer Michael Steinhardt, has died.

Cook had suffered from progressive supranuclear palsy, a neurodegenerative brain disease, since 2008. She died at her Manhattan home last week, at the age of 61.

Cook was the first woman hired by Goldman Sachs' equity division, after catching the eye of the firm's then-general partner, future U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. She left the firm a dozen years later, in 1987, to spend more time with her young sons, and then founded Alterna-track, an executive placement firm that sought to place women raising families in part-time financial positions. In 1994, she joined hedge fund Steinhardt Partners as head of investor relations and helped oversee its closure the following year and the transition to Steinhardt Management, where she served as chief investment officer until her retirement in 2008.

Steinhardt credited Cook with all-but-forcing him to write his 2001 memoir, No Bull, saying that "in addition to keeping a keen eye on my investments," she "managed to harass, cajole, humor and in general intimidate me into writing it."

Cook turned down an opportunity to get her MBA at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School to join Goldman. She later got the degree from New York University, and frequently took a co-worker, Perry Capital founder Richard Perry, along with her.

"She was an inspiration, a role model and a great friend," Perry told Bloomberg News. "She will be terribly missed by all who knew her."

A memorial service for Cook was held yesterday in Manhattan, and she will be honored by 100 Women in Hedge Funds, of which she was an early backer, next month. Her husband, Everett Cook, co-founder of private-equity firm Pouschine Cook Capital Management, will accept it on her behalf.

In Depth

Related-Company Fees: Normal Industry Practice or Conflicted Compensation?

Nov 11 2015 | 4:23pm ET

Regulatory agencies as well as investors are increasingly exploring whether certain...


Ferrari Roars in Wall Street Debut

Oct 21 2015 | 4:28pm ET

Shares of supercar maker Ferrari jumped as much as 15 percent to a high of nearly...

Guest Contributor

Private Debt - What is the Opportunity?

Nov 11 2015 | 3:28pm ET

In this contributed article, Rob Allard, founding partner of Firebreak Capital...


Editor's Note

    Oct 21 2015 | 10:41am ET

    One of the most unique charity benefits in the hedge fund industry, A Leg To Stand On's (ALTSO's) Hedge Fund Rocktoberfest - NYC, raised nearly $500,000 last Thursday thanks to the generous support of major sponsors and nearly 1,400 attendees from the Tri-State finance, business and hedge fund communities. Read more…