Richard L. Coates

Richard Lindsey Coates was born in Derby in 1945, the only child of Doris and George Coates. After spending his early years in Derbyshire, when Richard was seven the family moved to live at the School House in Stoke Ferry in Norfolk.

Richard attended school from the very early age of three, accompanying his mother who taught infants and ‘sitting in’ on her classes. Despite his youth, he was the only child in the class able to read and tell the time, which may have irritated his classmates.

At Stoke Ferry, Richard attended the village school, but neither his father (the Headmaster) nor he relished the thought of them both being in the ‘top class’ at opposite sides of the desk. He was, therefore, allowed to take the 11+ a year early and subsequently went through the local co-ed Grammar School a year younger than his class. This (usually) provoked his competitive instincts to keep up or outperform. Given that both parents were teachers, education was always given the highest priority and Richard was encouraged to consider every avenue a possibility.

Thus, with an extra term at school to prepare, Richard sat entrance exams for both Cambridge and Oxford, being offered a place at Cambridge but a Scholarship at Oxford. While a somewhat easier route than Doris’s in the 1920s, the progression from village school to Oxford was still a significant series of steps. Once there, he did not want to leave, staying on for six years to complete a further degree. It was not all work, however. He was awarded a Blue for athletics, elected to leadership roles in OUAC (Athletics) and the Broadcasting Society, and became a member of the elite Vincent’s Club, as well as leading an active College and social life.

Since University, Richard’s career has focused on all aspects of people management within business. He was employed by major corporations such as British Airways and Hewlett Packard (both in the UK and Northern Europe, based in Amsterdam) and worked in and owned a number of consulting organisations both in the UK and in the Middle East, living with his wife Louise in Dubai for fifteen years. In that time, clients included multinational companies (e.g. Audi, Porsche, Barclays, Mars), major national organisations (e.g. Qatar Foundation, Kuwait Petroleum, Dana Gas, Emirates Bank, ASDA, National Westminster Bank) and many others, large and small, listed or private, government or family.

Today, Richard and Louise are back in the UK, living in the beautiful Georgian city of Bath. They are very active in a range of diverse activities

  • Richard always travelled enthusiastically, from going on any available school trips in the 1950s and 60s (France, Italy and Switzerland), through to self-designed 2-3 month travel adventures with Louise to most parts of the world. To date, they have visited over 120 countries, but there are at least another 80 as yet unvisited, including some fairly popular tourist destinations such as Japan, Ukraine and Bulgaria as well as some roads less travelled – Pakistan, Myanmar, Ghana, Uruguay and Paraguay amongst others.
  • Richard and Louise are part owners of The Courtyard Playhouse in Dubai, a grassroots improv training and performance theatre, which also works on management and employee development. Recently, a new branch has opened in Cape Town
  • They are also partners in Davos Consulting Group, which still does some business in the Middle East, and acts as the parent group for various other business ventures
  • Richard has three wonderful daughters, two of whom have followed their grandparents into the teaching profession, whilst the other is a GP. He has also (to date) four grandchildren currently aged 12, 9, 4 and a few weeks
  • Richard has republished his mother’s books Tuppenny Rice and Treacle and Tunes on a Penny Whistle, updating and adding to them with new research, information, data and images that were not available when she first wrote them
  • A Farthing for the Ferryman writes the story of his childhood home, Stoke Ferry, placing it in the history of the region which can be traced back for hundreds of thousands of years
  • And there are books unwritten

Educational and business qualifications

  • A. Politics, Philosophy and Economics, University of Oxford
  • Litt. Industrial Relations, University of Oxford
  • Diploma in Organisation Leadership, Said Business School, University of Oxford
  • Chartered Fellow of the UK Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD)
  • Certificate of Directorship, Mudara Institute of Directors, Dubai


Writing and Publications

  • Set up The Harpsden Press to publish Stoke Ferry – the Story of a Norfolk Village in 1981. Subsequently published a series of booklets and articles. Revived the imprint for republication of Doris Coates’ books in the first instance
  • Written a series of articles for business magazines and research papers on topics such as Mergers and Acquisitions, Management Communications, Employee & Management Development and Reward Schemes


Unpublished series of essays and blog on Middle East topics, including:

  • Psychometric Analysis – an effective Guide to Arab Leadership?
  • Dubai and Death on the Roads
  • Water is the Oil of the 21st Century
  • The Good Fathers of Arabia
  • What Young Arabs Really Want


Unpublished children’s books (with daughter Vicki Coates) with a working title of The Adventures of Charlie and Kelly (a ginger cat and a Golden Labrador)