As part of a reshuffle at UKFI, chief executive John Kingman will be stepping down to pursue a career in the private sector. No replacement has been announced yet.
Cooksey will replace acting chairman Glen Moreno who has been in the post for the past six months since former chairman Sir Philip Hampton left to become chairman of RBS.
Cooksey set up venture capitalist Advent Venture Partners in 1981 and has also been a director of the Bank of England, a Treasury adviser and the chairman of the Audit Commission.
He is also an independent director of Resolution.
Darling says: “As one of Britain’s leading businessmen, Sir David combines hands-on financial expertise with a thorough understanding of the needs of businesses throughout the country. I am delighted that he has agreed to take on the role of Chairman of UKFI, looking after the investments we have made in the banks.”
Sir David Cooksey said: “I am pleased to be to taking on this important and challenging role. The taxpayer has made a substantial investment in the banks in order to preserve financial stability, and I will be focused on protecting the value of those investments and disposing of them over time”.
Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable says: “UKFI is one of Britain’s most powerful bodies and these changes at the top come at a very sensitive time.
“What is worrying about these changes is that Mr Kingman is leaving at a time when it’s clear the Government hasn’t really got a grip on the banks.
“This is the one person within the Treasury who knew where all the skeletons are buried and what’s going on.
“His departure at this time will leave a massive hole.”