Former WPP exec Justin Cooke joins Unicef UK as vice chairman

Justin Cooke joins Unicef board

Justin Cooke, the former founder and chief executive of WPP-owned digital agencies Possible and Fortune Cookie, has been named vice chairman for Unicef in the UK.

Speaking to The Drum, Cooke said that it was a “big step” but that he felt it important to “make a real difference in the world”.

The digital advisor is currently working with a number of companies, including creative agency Southpaw as non-executive director, social learning platform Future Learn as non-executive director and technology investor Northzone where he is a venture partner.

He also sits on the No. 10 Downing Street, The British Museum and Age UK digital advisory boards.

But, now he wants to take his skills and knowledge of the marketing, technology and start-up sectors to Unicef and help the global charity with fundraising initiatives and lobbying, particularly around the global development goals and ensuring they’re adopted by the UK government.

“Another thing I’m really interested in is trying to build a stronger focus around innovation,” he continued.

“And I think that can come across in many different ways, from establishing partnerships with Google, Facebook, Snap and Twitter etc and making those partnerships meaningful (rather than just communications channels) as well as working with the tech community itself to try and solve some of the challenges that exist to do with disease, violence and hunger and education.”

Cooke’s ambition is to look at the way Unicef currently works with technology organisations and leaders in that space and “elevate and transform it so that it’s not just about donating but about collaborating and innovating as investors in initiatives Unicef are trying to drive.”

“I have a lot of experience in working and helping brands communicate, making an impact, and driving awareness," he said. "Anything I can do there to help Unicef get its message across… there’s a real need and it’s a challenge at the moment. It’s really important we try and help Unicef cut through some of that noise.”

He joins with immediate effect having been formally appointed at Unicef’s AGM earlier this week.

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