Vale LJ Hooker chief Grahame Cooke

Vale LJ Hooker chief Grahame Cooke
Vale LJ Hooker chief Grahame Cooke

The former LJ Hooker CEO and industry icon, Grahame Cooke, passed away peacefully this morning in Hobart following his 18 month battle with cancer. 

Grahame commenced his career in real estate in October 1968 by walking into LJ Hooker Hobart and asking for a job.

They took him on as an assistant property manager, and he remained with LJ Hooker for more than 36 years.

Following his stint in property management, he became state manager in Tasmania and then moved north to take the role of state manager in Queensland, before moving to Sydney in 1990 where he was appointed executive general manager of franchising.

In 1994, Grahame was appointed LJ Hooker CEO and helmed an era of growth and geographic expansion until his retirement in late 2004.

Author Peter Lightfoot, in his book ‘Laugh and the World Laughs with You’, referred to Grahame as the “man who brought franchising to LJ Hooker - and to adulthood".

During his time Grahame saw huge changes including the advancement of technology and its impact on the real estate industry.

He rode out booms and recessions and guided the company through its challenges for it only to emerge strong and triumphant, the current CEO Grant Harrod said today.

"Grahame was an exceptionally passionate man and he always saw people as the greatest asset of our brand and would often say the LJ Hooker family would inspire him everyday." 

Grant Harrod listed some of Grahame's indelible achievements as:

  • Formed the national marketing fund so we could launch the incredibly successful ‘nobody does it better’ television campaign and launched community based marketing.
  • In 1994, despite strong opposition he commenced development of the LJ Hooker System (E2), and I know he’d be very proud of NextGen today. He was also the visionary behind the ljhooker.com website.
  • Under his leadership, in 1996 LJ Hooker acquired the Challenge Realty Group in New Zealand. They were re-branded to LJ Hooker in 1998.
  • In 1997 he launched LJ Hooker Commercial.
  • And, he created the Captains Club.

On October 2009 he was invited to join the LJ Hooker Limited board of directors retiring in May 2014. 

"I had the privilege of sitting with Grahame, affectionately known as 'Cookie', on the LJ Hooker Board for almost five years," LJ Hooker Chairman, L Janusz Hooker said today.

"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.  

"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.

"He sincerely loved the brand and everyone in it.  

"Grahame was blood and custard through and through and his legacy is the enduring strength of LJ Hooker and its family culture which we all enjoy today.  

"Grahame's passion and business acumen has been an inspiration to me and my family for generations. 

"On behalf of the LJ Hooker family, our thoughts are with his wife Lynne, his family and friends," he said.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

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Industry News Real Estate

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