Kenneth Vern "Ken" Cockrel, Jr. (born October 29, 1965) is a Michigan politician who became mayor of Detroit on September 19, 2008. He was president of the Detroit City Council from 2005 until September 17, 2008, when he was sworn in as the interim mayor, with his term in office beginning September 19. The previous mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick had announced on September 4, 2008 that he would resign, causing the duties of the Mayor of Detroit to fall upon Cockrel.
On May 5, 2009, former Detroit Pistons player and businessman Dave Bing defeated Cockrel 52% to 48% in a special election for Mayor of Detroit. On May 11, 2009, Bing was sworn in as the new Mayor of Detroit and Cockrel returned to his position as Council President.
Cockrel, a cum laude graduate of Wayne State University, is a former writer for the Detroit Free Press and a former Wayne County commissioner. He is the son of Kenneth Cockrel, Sr., a former Detroit city council member, attorney and self-proclaimed Marxist-Leninist who died from a heart attack, and Carol Cockrel, a schoolteacher. He is a graduate of the St. Florian Church (Hamtramck, Michigan) High School.