Frederic W. Cook
Frederic W. Cook, 77, died peacefully at home in Cortlandt Manor, NY on April 4, 2018, surrounded by his family. Fred was an enthusiastic husband, father and grandfather, an ambitious and lauded entrepreneur, a talented and prolific gardener, and a passionate hiker and dessert-eater.
Born on December 15, 1940 in Philadelphia, PA to Althea Fellows Cook and Frederic Thomas Cook, Fred was named for his grandfather, Frederic William Cook, a superintendent of schools in Plainfield, NJ. A proud Eagle Scout raised in Syracuse, NY, Fred attended Dartmouth College on an NROTC scholarship, graduated with a love of lacrosse and many friends, and served four years as an infantry officer in the Marine Corps. In 1966 he joined Philadelphia-based Towers, Perrin, Forster & Crosby (TPF&C) a company that provided insurance, employee benefits and compensation consulting.
After seven years at TPF&C and with his wife and three small children, Fred established his own firm, Frederic W. Cook & Company, with executive compensation consulting as its sole focus. By the time he retired in 2013 the firm had grown to have over 80 employees in seven offices and has advised many of the largest and most successful businesses in the world. The firm’s market share of the Fortune 1000 and S&P 500 is unmatched.
From the very beginning, it was Fred’s plan to create a company that would succeed him, not by selling it to a larger firm, but through recruiting people who would want to take leadership and maintain independence because they could not imagine any better place to work, would be well paid for their efforts, and because they owned and ran the firm. His passion was getting people to think about what was meaningful to them, and then developing structures and incentives to motivate them towards achieving a vision that benefited future generations.
Fred was known as an innovator and an industry leader. He was a champion of women in the workforce, adopting job sharing and remote working arrangements in his company. He was an early advocate and creative mind on the topic of executive and manager stock ownership, on the belief that having “skin in the game” with investors would drive long-term performance. His contributions have been recognized with an Honorary Life Membership in the American Compensation Association (now World at Work), as a Fellow in the National Academy of Human Resources and with a World at Work Keystone Award.
In addition to his business accomplishments, Fred was a member of the Defense Department¹s Business Board from 2002 to 2013, and an avid Board Member of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival from 2013 to 2018.
Fred had a lifelong passion for the outdoors and physical fitness, completing many marathons without once training on a treadmill, and climbing the 46 High Peaks in NY State’s Adirondack Mountains. He climbed many of those peaks multiple times, in both summer and winter. He particularly loved introducing his family and friends to the Adirondacks he loved so much, with large family reunions, college reunions, hikes to swimming holes, outdoor hot tub soaks, and trips with his granddaughters up some of those same High Peaks. In life as in business, he loved to create traditions and share his passions. Fred is survived by his beloved wife of 54 years Sara Jasper Cook, his three daughters and their spouses, Laura Booth (John), Elizabeth Mastro (Louis) and Jennifer Wright Cook (Chris Oden), three grandchildren, Julia Jasper Booth, Aimee Fellows Booth and Miranda Matoska Cook Oden, three siblings, John Cook, Darryl McLean and Sue Hoople, and a thriving extended family of cousins, nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. He will be deeply missed by his family and friends. Memorial services will be scheduled later in the year. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to Achilles International or the Adirondack Council, two organizations he generously supported.