Cooke is former Director of the Policy and Technical Advisory Division (2000–2012) at the International Fund for Agricultural Research (IFAD). Before this, he was Director of the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development (CTA). He brings a wealth of experience in agriculture and rural development, including aspects such as institutional appraisal, corporate planning and management of change; project identification, implementation, monitoring and evaluation; R&D management and technology transfer. He has worked in Latin America, Africa, India and Southeast Asia. He has a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Bristol. He joined the Board in November 2012.