Establishment of polarity in C. elegans embryos is dependent on the centrosome. The sperm contributes a pair of centrioles to the egg and these centrioles remain incapable of polarizing the cortex while the egg completes meiosis. Coincident with the establishment of polarity, the centrioles recruit centrosomal proteins, several of which are required for polarity, suggesting that the temporal regulation of centrosome assembly may control the initiation of polarization. We found that cyclin E-Cdk2 is required for the establishment of polarity. Cyclin E-Cdk2 controls the recruitment of centrosomal proteins specifically at the time of polarity establishment. Cyclin E is required for several examples of asymmetric cell division and fate determination in C. elegans and Drosophila. Here, we suggest a possible mechanism for cyclin E-Cdk2-dependent differentiation: the establishment of cortical polarity by the centrosome.