After serving as managing director at its London office, Ije Nwokorie took over as global CEO at Wolff Olins in April 2014. He now leads the business across its offices in Dubai, San Francisco, London and New York.
Like Wolff Olins co-founder Michael Wolff, Nwokorie originally studied architecture, first in Nigeria, where he spent his early years, and latterly at Columbia in New York. He then moved into strategy and innovation, particularly around services. In 2006, he joined Wolff Olins as senior strategist, going on to become Strategy Director until his move to MD in October 2010.
Nwokorie has spoken widely about the changing nature of branding and its effect on the work done at Wolff Olins. At the Design Indaba conference in 2014, for example, he talked about branding as an increasingly ‘messy’ business that is les about a perfect, finished set of guidelines and more a collaborative process whereby the brand consultancy works with the client to prompt and inspire.
“If you think about the processes that matter to people – democracy, relationships, change – they are all very messy things. At Wolff Olins we are becoming increasingly comfortable that what we do in the branding process is not control but rather inject some inspiration… create some starting points for people to make stuff,” he told the Indaba audience.
“Actually, what you are doing is using design as an instigator or a distruptor to encourage people to break the norm; to do something different because that is what brands have to do.”
Nwokorie is a member of the board of trustees for Malaria No More and serves on the advisory board for Little Sun, the solar phone charger designed by artist Olafur Eliasson. He is also a tech investor and advisor to numerous startups and non-profit organisations including Sorted Food and Red Media Africa.