LJ Hooker icon passes away

Long-time LJ Hooker chief executive and board member Grahame Cooke has passed following an 18-month battle with cancer.

Mr Cooke served as chief executive of LJ Hooker from 1994 to 2004, and then came out of retirement in 2009 to begin a five-year stint on the board of directors. He passed away yesterday.

Chairman L Janusz Hooker said he had been privileged to sit on the board alongside Mr Cooke.

“When I asked him if he would like to join the board to help revitalize LJ Hooker, after having retired as the group CEO five years prior, he didn't hesitate. ‘Yes, absolutely’, was his answer,” he said.

“Having earned his LJ Hooker stripes over a very long and successful career, he was a formidable force in the boardroom and was fearless in his mission to protect the brand and the extended LJ Hooker family. His passion and business acumen was inspirational.

“Grahame’s legacy is the enduring strength of LJ Hooker and its family culture, which we all enjoy today. Today we say to Grahame, ‘Thank you, Mr Hooker’.”

Mr Cooke started at LJ Hooker in October 1968 as an assistant property manager with the Hobart office.

Following his stint in property management, Mr Cooke became state manager in Tasmania and then moved north to take the role of state manager in Queensland.

He then relocated to Sydney in 1990 to become executive general manager of franchising.

LJ Hooker said that Mr Cooke “left an indelible mark on the brand”, including the launch of the ‘Nobody does it better’ television campaign.

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