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Obituary for Simon Coke

Simon Coke, Professor Emeritus (retired) has died, aged 86.

Simon Coke

He joined Edinburgh’s Business Studies Department as the first Professor of International Business in 1973, after working in various roles within multi-national pharmaceutical corporations. This included being the Brussels-based Assistant Marketing Manager at Beechams and General Manager for the Japanese operations of Johnson and Johnson.

At the University of Edinburgh, he became Head of Department, and it was due to his initiative and leadership that the Department launched an MBA programme and created the Management School (now the Edinburgh Business School). He espoused the principles of both good management and high quality teaching in his years running the Management School, and promoted the use of case studies and real-life experience in the classroom within practice-oriented tertiary education. Drawing on his own upbringing and career, he was an early advocate of the importance of developing understanding and respect for diverse cultural perspectives within international organisations.

He was an adviser on a number of government aid-related projects in Peru, Columbia, Indonesia, Egypt and Portugal. He also served on a wide range of boards, including for three investment trusts and for Edinburgh University Press. 

After his retirement from the University in 1999, he was made a Professor Emeritus. He moved into Edinburgh’s New Town, where he continued to play an active role on a number of boards, and was a vocal member of the Moray Feu. He also collected a range of ‘objets d’art’ to decorate his Georgian flat - from eighteenth century illustrated French books to contemporary Scottish art - and enjoyed the cultural life the city had to offer.