Commodore Jonathan Cooke OBE19 November 2009
Commodore Jonathan Cooke OBE retired in May as clerk of the Leathersellers’ Company which is based in the financial district of London. Cooke was selected for the position of clerk from more than 200 applicants in February 1996 following a long and distinguished career in the British navy stretching more than 35 years. Leathersellers’ is a traditional livery company, which owns approximately four acres of land in the city of London, which is some of the most expensive real estate in the world.
The role of the clerk is to manage 28 staff as well as monitor and manage the land portfolio and other financial investments on behalf of the Leathersellers’ Company. Each year the Company gives approximately £1.25 million ($1.85 million) to various charities and institutions of which 10% is allocated to the UK leather industry. Beneficiaries of Leathersellers’ support include the Leather & Hide Trades’ Benevolent Institution, Museum of Leather Craft, Leather Conservation Centre, UKLF and the British School of Leather Technology (BSLT), part of the University of Northampton.
Cooke has overseen a number of projects in his time as clerk including a three-year, £400,000 ($592,000) payment to BSLT to update their pilot plant tannery and related facilities.
‘I have taken a great deal of satisfaction from my role over the past 13 years. It has included a good blend of job satisfaction and fun while adapting the Leathersellers’ Company to the 21st century’, Cooke told Leather International. ‘It is a very varied role which includes helping leather related charities and institutions, to promoting UK leather around the world at events such as the APLF in Hong Kong and Lineapelle in Bologna’, he added.
During his naval career Cooke was commander of a squadron of nine submarines based off the west coast of Scotland and served on three submarines including the nuclear powered sub Warspite during the Falklands dispute in the early 1980s. More recently he served as British naval attaché in Paris before joining the Leathersellers’ Company.
David Santa-Olalla has replaced Jonathan Cooke as the new clerk of the Leathersellers’ Company. He is a former British army brigadier and is looking forward to working with the leather industry in the future.