Despite recent moves, Cohens have no plans to step back from their companies

Betsy Cohen will remain active at Bancorp Inc.
Betsy Cohen will remain active at Bancorp Inc.
Posted: November 10, 2010

Betsy Cohen announced her retirement as chairwoman of RAIT Financial Trust at the end of this year, and now her husband, Edward E. Cohen, is selling Atlas Energy Inc., which is rooted in natural gas drilling partnerships he started organizing 40 years ago.

Do these moves mean the Cohens, longtime fixtures of the Philadelphia business community with companies such as the former Jefferson Bank, are stepping back, maybe getting ready to retire from their collection of publicly traded companies?

Asked for an interview, Betsy Cohen responded in an e-mail, speaking for both of them: "No way . . .. . ."

Both Cohens remain active at other companies they founded: Betsy Cohen, 68, is chairwoman and chief executive of The Bancorp Inc. in Wilmington, and Edward E. Cohen, 70, is chairman of Resource America Inc., a specialty finance company headquartered at the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia.

Natural gas drilling was the original business of Resource America, which was called Resource Exploration when Edward Cohen partnered with Campbell Soup heir Jack Dorrance and others to buy it in 1987.

Later, Resource America bought Bryn Mawr Resources Inc., the company Edward Cohen had been using to facilitate investments in natural gas wells. Francis J. "Reds" Bagnell, All-America halfback for the University of Pennsylvania in 1950, was president of Bryn Mawr Resources and then of Resource America until his 1995 death.

Resource America spawned not just Atlas America, which was spun off in 2004, but also RAIT Financial in 1997 and Resource Capital in 2006.

Daniel G. Cohen, the older of Betsy and Edward Cohen's two sons, started his financial career at Resource America in 1995, was chief executive of RAIT when it got hammered in the 2007 subprime meltdown, and has since taken another company public.

Jonathan Z. Cohen, the younger son, is vice chairman of Atlas Energy and has been chief executive of Resource America since 2004.


Contact staff writer Harold Brubaker at 215-854-4651 or hbrubaker@phillynews.com.

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