FIRST® Announces President Larry Cohen’s Retirement

Vice President of Programs Chris Rake Appointed Interim President

MANCHESTER, N.H.,– MARCH 16, 2021, FIRST®, an international not-for-profit organization with the mission to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators, today announced the retirement of President Larry Cohen. The FIRST Board of Directors has appointed Chris Rake, Vice President of Programs, as Interim President, effective March 29, 2021.

Cohen joined FIRST in December, 2019, after a distinguished 30+ year career leading information technology and operations efforts at AllianceBernstein, Morgan Stanley, UBS, and Goldman Sachs. He has successfully led FIRST during a very difficult time, with the pandemic restricting most after-school activities and challenging organizational missions, impacts and finances. He has decided to retire early so that he can spend more time with his family and be located closer to them all in the wake of the pandemic.

Rake joined FIRST in 2018 as the Vice President of Programs and leads the largest organization within FIRST. Rake’s primary mission is to champion the growth of the progression of FIRST programs worldwide. He and the Programs team are responsible for strategic planning and development of the overall content and experience of all FIRST programs.

“Chris has demonstrated outstanding technology and operational leadership skills. Chris is a true FIRST enthusiast and, as a volunteer, mentors several FIRST teams,” said FIRST Board of Director Co-Chairs Kelly Ortberg and Bob Tuttle. “FIRST is weathering the pandemic storm well and is poised to rebound quickly. That is due to a lot of hard work by FIRST staff and volunteers and due to the continued support of our major sponsors. We look forward to a bright future.”


About FIRST®
FIRST® is a robotics community that prepares young people for the future through a suite of inclusive, team-based robotics programs for ages 4-18 (PreK-12) that can be facilitated in school or in structured afterschool programs. Boosted by a global support system of volunteers, educators, and sponsors that include over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies, teams operate under a signature set of FIRST Core Values to conduct research, fundraise, design, build, and showcase their achievements during annual challenges. An international not-for-profit organization founded by accomplished inventor Dean Kamen in 1989, FIRST has a proven impact on STEM learning, interest, and skill-building well beyond high school. Alumni of FIRST programs gain access to exclusive scholarships, internships, and other opportunities that create connections and open pathways to a wide variety of careers. Learn more at