Thomas (Tom) F. Darden

Tom Darden is founder and CEO of Cherokee, which has raised over $2.2 billion in five institutional private equity funds, and invested this capital in the acquisition, cleanup and sale of approximately 550 environmentally contaminated real estate assets in the US, Europe and Canada.

Tom began his career with Bain & Company in Boston, working with Bain from 1981 to 1984. Beginning in 1984, he served for 16 years as the Chairman of Cherokee Sanford Group, the largest privately-held brick manufacturing company in the United States and previously the Southeast’s largest soil remediation company.

Tom serves on numerous other boards including those of Shaw University, Environmental Defense Action Fund, Research Triangle Institute and the University of North Carolina’s environmental department. He was Chairman of the Research Triangle Transit Authority and served two terms on the N.C. Board of Transportation, through appointments by the Governor and the Speaker of the House.

Tom earned a Master in Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a JD from Yale Law School and a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Scholar. His 1976 undergraduate thesis analyzed the environmental impact of third world development and his 1981 Yale thesis addressed interstate acid rain air pollution.