Executive Chairman

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+44 (0)3330 143 401 info@gunnercooke.com

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Executive Chairman


Darryl is the founder and visionary behind gunnercooke.

He began life as a barrister in Lincoln’s Inn before working in the legal team of a major multinational corporation. When he began in private practice at SJ Berwin, he quickly grew a thriving Private Equity practice which he continued at Addleshaw Goddard, where he began what soon became one of the firm’s strongest practice areas at the same time as joining the board. He later moved to DLA Piper, where he headed private equity in EMEA. As one of the UK’s leading Private Equity lawyers, Darryl’s book Private Equity: Law and Practice published by Sweet and Maxwell is now in its 7th edition.

During that time Darryl has always had entrepreneurial instincts, establishing a property company and a business conference company along the way, as well as achieving every man’s dream of owning his own pub — from which he says he learnt the most! He has also been a director of numerous businesses in varied industries and has established the gunnercooke Foundation, the firm’s charitable foundation to help growing and ambitious charities.

Having worked in all parts of the legal industry as well as with experiences from other industries Darryl is passionate about the need for innovation in legal services. In May 2019, he launched his new book, To innovate or not to innovate, which looks at the challenges that law firms face to be innovative in a traditional environment. Whilst the book looks to the legal sector for examples, it includes valuable advice for any business leader wanting to disrupt and dare to be different.

As the host of the Inspiring Leadership Podcast, Darryl is a highly respected speaker and is available to talk about innovation, leadership and philanthropy, his three passions.

To sign up to receive Darryl’s blogs on Leadership, click here.

Experience Highlights

  • The £100m buy-out of Autowindscreens (the leading automotive glass replacement company) by HSBC private equity from Heywood Williams Group plc and its subsequent sale to RAC.
  • The buy-out of Hobbs, the design led manufacturer and retailer of ladies’ clothes by Barclays Private Equity from its founders, with operations in the UK and Italy.
  • The institutional buy out of Swarfega, the hand cleaner used by mechanics, for £135m by Barclays Private Equity. The group incorporated 21 companies in 16 countries.
  • The £350m turnover acquisition by Klarius eu of the Quinton Hazell Automotive Group from US based Affinia with manufacturing operations in four countries.
  • The £115 m buyout of a minority shareholding in Jerrold Holdings Limited, the financial services lender to the commercial and residential property market.
  • The buyout of M & M Direct, the leading online and mail order retailer of discounted lifestyle and leisure fashion apparel by ECI.
  • The purchase from Dutch chemical giant Azco Nobel of Crown Paints by Endless llp for £70m.
  • The reverse takeover of Ultimate Finance Group by Ashley Corporate Finance.
  • The institutional purchase of Gaucho Grill, the high quality restaurant chain with restaurants throughout Europe.
  • The £45m buy out of Giles Insurance Brokers by Gresham Trust.
  • The £100m buy out of Cabot Financial, the market leader in the debt purchase market by an institutional purchaser.


  • To Innovate or Not to Innovate, by Darryl Cooke, published by Globe Law and Business
  • The Square Mile by Darryl Cooke
  • Management Buy-Outs, by Darryl Cooke, published by Sweet and Maxwell
  • Due Diligence: A Practical Guide by Darryl Cooke and David Bertram, published by Sweet and Maxwell
  • Private Equity: Law and Practice, by Darryl Cooke, published by Sweet and Maxwell
  • Private Equity: A Transactional Analysis by Global Law and Business, Contributing author
  • Regular columnist and writer for EN, on Leadership


Career History


  • University of Leeds LLB (Hons)
  • King’s College London LLM
  • Barrister (Inner Temple)

Previous Law Firms

  • SJ Berwin
  • Addleshaw Goddard LLP
  • DLA Piper