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News > Announcements > Obituaries > In Memoriam: Peter Cooke (Gov 82-02)

In Memoriam: Peter Cooke (Gov 82-02)

You are warmly welcomed to leave a message below, share your memories, and celebrate the life of Peter Cooke (Gov 82-02), who we sadly lost in 2022.
30 Aug 2022
Written by Robin Knight


Peter Cooke, a Governor of the College for 20 years from 1982, died peacefully at home on August 5th, 2022, aged 90. He left a wife Julia, four children and ten grandchildren. His funeral will take place at St. James Church, Gerrards Cross on September 18th at 2:00pm.

Peter was educated at the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe, Kingswood School Bath and at Merton College, Oxford. In 1955 he began working at the Bank of England. Three years later he transferred to the Bank of International Settlements in Basle before moving to Washington DC for four years to become Personal Assistant to the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.

Returning to the UK in the mid-1960s, he did a spell at the Takeovers and Mergers City Panel before re-joining the Bank of England in 1968 as First Deputy Chief Cashier and then Adviser to the Governors 1973-76. His penultimate role at the Bank of England was as Head of Banking Supervision 1976-85. From 1982-88 he was also an Associate Director at the Bank. In 1989 he branched out and in future years occupied high-level advisory roles at the accountants PriceWaterhouseCooper, the Housing Corporation, the Group of Ten committee on banking regulations, HSBC and others. In 1997 he was awarded a CBE for “services to banking.”

In 1982 Peter joined a Board of Governors at Pangbourne College almost totally lacking his sort of expertise and background and quickly assumed a prominent role. During the school’s financially challenging period in the 1990s, his shrewd advice and wise counsel was often decisive and was always hugely appreciated by his colleagues. In 1999 he stood in at short notice for the chairman of Board on Founders’ Day when Sir John Webster was unable to attend. In his characteristically under-stated style, he rose to the occasion with ease.

Further, Andrew Cooke (78-80) wrote: 

"It is with great sadness that I must inform the College of my father, Peter Cooke. I attended Pangbourne from 1978 to 1980 and have many happy memories of my time there. Dad was a member of the Board of Governors of Pangbourne College, 1982-2002, and contributed enormously to the College during this time.

Dad was born in 1932 in Wendover, Bucks, the son of Doulas Cooke and May Cooke (Mills). His sister, Margaret Wilkinson, still lives in Dunedin, New Zealand. William Peter Cooke matriculated in 1952, graduating in 1955 with a BA in History from Merton College, Oxford. He married Maureen Haslam-Fox, who he met in his last year at Oxford. They married in 1957, raising 4 children - Nick, Caroline, myself (Andrew) and Stephanie - and were together for 41 years until Mum’s death in 1999. He was a great dad, husband and friend to many. He will be sorely missed by his 4 children and 10 grandchildren spread across the UK, Spain and Australia.

Dad was Chairman of the Committee of the Merton Society for many years and became President from 1995-1998. He was appointed CBE in the 1997 Birthday Honours List for services to Housing.

He spent 33 years at the Bank of England, for many years serving as Head of Banking Supervision, 1979-1986, and retiring as Associate Director (a member of the Court of the Bank) in 1988. From 1979-1988, Peter Cooke was chairman of the so-called Cooke Committee at the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, more formally known as the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. The Committee was responsible for the formulation and introduction of the first risk-weighted capital rules for major international banks.

Following his retirement from the Bank in 1988, he was, for a decade, chairman of the global regulatory advisory practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers in London. He was also an advisor and non-executive director to a range of banks and other financial organisations.

As well as Pangbourne, he was also a member of the Board of Governors College, for Kingswood School, Bath (his old school) from 1991-2002. He also served on the board of directors of the government quango, The Housing Corporation London, 1988-1997, finally as chairman in 1997. He was also Deputy Chairman of Chatham House, the international affairs think tank, from 1997 to 2005.

Peter's funeral takes place at 2:00pm on Monday 19 September, at St James Church, Gerrards Cross. Family flowers only, donations to the British Heart Foundation.

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