Reed Cordish ’96 will join the Trump administration as assistant to the President for intragovernmental and technology initiatives, the presidential transition team announced Tuesday.
Cordish will oversee presidential initiatives that demand multi-agency collaboration and high-impact task forces, concentrating on technological innovation and modernization.
Cordish has agreed to accept no pay. Instead, he will treat the role as a unique opportunity to serve the country, his brother Blake Cordish ’93 said.
The importance of the moment moved Reed Cordish to contribute his talents, Blake Cordish explained. He added that their parents and grandparents taught them to appreciate how fortunate they were and to do everything they could to help others.
Reed Cordish did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.
Currently, Reed Cordish works as a principal and partner of The Cordish Companies, his family’s real estate development and entertainment company based in Baltimore. He also serves as president of Entertainment Consulting International, an entertainment and restaurant operating company that he co-founded.
President-elect Donald Trump said in a statement that the role will draw on Reed Cordish’s experience managing large, complex businesses in the private sector. Reed Cordish’s supervision of thousands of employees and dozens of businesses at The Cordish Companies over nearly two decades will help him make the federal government more efficient and foster interagency teamwork, Blake Cordish noted.
Reed Cordish blends many characteristics that often do not appear in one person, Blake Cordish said.
“He's remarkably hard-working, laser-beam focused when he's really passionate about something, super smart — he’s got a great analytical mind,” Blake said, calling his brother a great friend, leader, and father. “He always has the very special ability to get the absolute most out of himself and the situation he's in.”
Brook Hazelton ’96, president of the art auction house Christie’s America, said he has regularly kept in touch with Reed Cordish since they built a close friendship in college. They lived near each other in Mathey freshman year and, as co-captains of the tennis team, saw each other almost daily for practices or matches.
Hazelton said he expects Reed to excel at focusing on a few objectives, rather than getting distracted as some people might.
“What Reed will do is look at the landscape and figure out those top-priority items, and then make sure that he works hard to achieve them,” he said, citing Reed's record of successfully developing real estate projects, which require uniting a diverse set of contractors, parties, public officials, and private companies to deliver a project.
Reed Cordish has been contributing to the presidential transition, according to a statement by Trump. Before the election, Reed Cordish donated $250,000 to the Trump Victory committee on June 30, 2016.
The Cordish and Trump families have longstanding ties. Their history began when Trump filed a lawsuit over a casino project against Reed Cordish’s father David Cordish, the CEO and Chairman of The Cordish Companies.
“I sued David, for hundreds of millions of dollars. I didn't know him but I just said ‘I’m going to get this guy, whoever the hell he is,’” Trump later recounted. The court ordered them to meet for mediation. “I walked in and I fell in love in about two minutes. We worked out our problems in, what, 12 seconds?” Trump said.
At the event, David Cordish told the audience that he had asked Ivanka Trump if she had a twin sister who could date Reed Cordish. She arranged for Reed Cordish to meet Margaret Katz, one of her best friends from her undergraduate years at the University of Pennsylvania. They married in October 2010. The wedding included Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, reportedly a close friend of Reed Cordish.
Just as Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, and Donald Trump, Jr. work at their father’s business, Reed Cordish, Blake Cordish, and their brother Jon Cordish work at their father’s business. Blake Cordish suggested that the similarity of experiences has tightened the bond between the families.
Like Reed Cordish, David Cordish took a sabbatical from The Cordish Companies to serve the president by applying private sector expertise to a government role, Blake Cordish said. David Cordish acted as the first director of the Urban Development Action Grant Program under the Carter and Reagan administrations.
At the University, Reed Cordish majored in English. “He was somebody who was very dedicated to two things at Princeton: 1) his academics and 2) his sports, and he excelled at both,” Hazelton said.
Hazelton added that Reed Cordish always played within the rules on the court, showing himself to be very ethical, and represented not only the best tennis player, but also the most hardworking one.
“He would get out there early to hit practice balls before our practice even started. It was setting the example for the younger players on the team and really leading the way,” Hazelton explained.
On a personal level, Hazelton said classmates would consider Reed Cordish a loyal friend, who built strong relationships with his roommates and fellow members of the Cap & Gown Club.
Ranked 44th in the country in tennis, Reed Cordish won the William Winston Roper 1902 Trophy for scholastic and athletic excellence, the highest honor for senior male athletes. He became a world-ranked professional athlete on the Association of Tennis Professionals Tour before joining The Cordish Companies. Reed Cordish and Blake Cordish numbered among the donors to the Cordish Family Pavilion, a facility for the University tennis program that opened in September 2011.
The presidential inauguration will take place on Friday.