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Getting to know: Des Gunewardena

Get to know our Chairman and CEO of D&D London a little better.

Listen to the original podcast from Mishcon de Reya here.

Des was born in Kandy, Sri Lanka, and has lived in London for most of his life. He went to school in Wimbledon and studied economics at Bristol University before qualifying as a chartered accountant at Ernst & Young in 1981. In the mid 1980’s he was responsible for financial planning at property conglomerate Heron International before joining design entrepreneur Sir Terence Conran in 1991 as his business partner and CEO. During their 15 year period together Terence and Des built Conran from a small design company into a global restaurant, retail, hotel and design company employing 2000 staff in the major cities of the world.

In 2006 Des, as its Chairman and CEO led a buyout of Conran Restaurants (now renamed D&D London) a luxury restaurant group that owns and operates over 40 venues in London, Manchester, Leeds, Paris, and New York. D&D also owns South Place, an 80 bedroom luxury hotel in the City of London.

Des is a non-executive director of Fulham Shore, and has previously held non-executive directorships of London First, and publicly listed restaurant and design companies. For a number of years Des has been listed as one the Evening Standard’s Top 1000 most influential Londoners and in 2013 was shortlisted as EY’s London Entrepreneur of the year.

Des lives in Wimbledon with his wife Liz, and have a son and a daughter.