Sir Michael Darrington was educated at Lancing College in Sussex. He later qualified as a chartered accountant and spent 17 years with United Biscuits, latterly in general management. During this time he attended the PMD[expand acronym] course at Harvard Business School. He joined Greggs Bakery in 1983 and was appointed Managing Director in January 1984. He was awarded a knighthood in 2004 in recognition of his services to business and to the community in the North East.