Search site


Richard Falshaw, PhD

Members will be sorry to learn of the death, on 27 October 2013, of Dr Richard Falshaw, former Lecturer in the Business School.  The following obituary of Dr Falshaw has been written by Professor Richard Thorpe, for many years a friend and colleague.

Richard joined the University of Leeds in July 1990 and worked within the Business School until he retired in the summer of 2012.

After qualifying as a chemical engineer with first class honours, Richard worked as a metallurgist for Nchanga Consolidated Copper Mines Ltd in Zambia for four years before moving back to the United Kingdom and working for first British Nuclear Fuels and then in the fertilizer division of Fisons. In 1980, Richard’s career took a dramatic change of direction, seeing him manage a small dairy farm in the Yorkshire Dales.  After seven years as a farmer, having increased the herd from 18 to 40, he took another change of direction and registered for an ESRC funded PhD at Bradford School of Management – The Implementation of Strategic Decisions.

At Leeds Richard undertook a central role within the School, acting for many years as the course leader for the undergraduate management programme; the Director of Undergraduate Admissions; and also Director of Studies for the Management Division. In these roles Richard was a highly regarded colleague. He will be remembered as always helpful and supportive and a guardian of the School’s academic standards and processes. His leadership style in these roles was characterised by his fairness, integrity and real sense of community.

Richard’s expertise and experience was recognised more widely when he was asked to deliver Strategic Management, one of the core modules, on the School’s ‘flagship’ programme the MBA degree. He was also in demand as a PhD supervisor, and in this role he will be remembered for the way he was able to ease the often difficult transition from a work environment to one of research – invariably accomplished with his particular brand of warm and gentle humour. He was a supportive and conscientious colleague, always mindful of the welfare of others, who would do whatever he could to help staff and students.

When he learnt of his medical condition a year before his retirement he ensured, with typical conscientiousness and generosity of spirit, that all of his work was appropriately handed over and that he kept in regular contact with colleagues throughout his treatment and convalescence.

Despite his contribution to teaching and course development, it is probably not the programmes he managed and oversaw which are the most significant aspects of Richard’s contribution to the institution, but rather the changes he implemented and oversaw. When Richard came to the institution it was the Department of Management. In 1998 it was incorporated with the Leeds University Business School – in effect an independent Faculty within the University of Leeds and responsible for developing its own mission with all that entails, a process in which Richard was immensely helpful and supportive. His legacy will also be his championing of the undergraduate programme: under his guardianship it was traditionally the highest recruiting programme, and this legacy will be recognised through an annual prize for strategic management.

Outside work, Richard’s passions embraced his family. For cerebral stimulation his interests included astronomy and science fiction writing, and his physical and artistic pursuits extended to rowing, carpentry and folk guitar. 

The funeral service will take place at 2.00pm on Friday 8 November 2013 at St Wilfred’s Church, Burnsall, BD23 6BP, and afterwards at the Craven Arms in Appletreewick.

In Dr Falshaw’s memory, the flag on the Parkinson Building will be flown at half-mast on Friday.