For Grey Area Coaching work:


I’ve really enjoyed working with David. He’s been a real source of inspiration and a fountain of advice and knowledge. In a month I’ve made more progress than I’ve made in a year.

Nov 20 Julia Leckey, The Honest Brand

“David’s coaching sessions have had a profound impact on my life. He has enabled me to gain a much more holistic perspective on my goals and the obstacles that I have faced achieving them. His style of coaching and the questions that he asks really made me confront the factors that have been a barrier to my development and therefore I have been able to take action to achieve my goals. I have learnt that I possess the skills and talents to make my dreams happen, but I needed to shift my thinking and understanding of my capabilities first. David has helped me learn how to set realistic and measurable goals that I can implement across all areas of my life and I look forward to achieving more as a result of this.”

May 2020, Salma Ibrahim, Literary Natives

“Before I started coaching with David Roche I was quite confused and lost as to what would come next, and how I would continue the momentum I had built during my Traineeship. My first session with David allowed me to narrow down what I wanted to achieve in the short-term and long-term. The sessions to follow helped me remain focused, and encouraged me to try new ways of approaching job opportunities. David continually asked questions that challenged my understanding, and that pushed me to be more bold and confident in my decision making. During a turbulent period, David’s questions sculpted my way of thinking about and approaching new opportunities. David helped me re-evaulate my short and long-term goals and set new ones.”

June 2020, Hena Bryan, Hachette UK and Bryan House Publishing

“David Roche has been able to adapt to my own needs and empower me to kickstart my professional career. Monthly sessions with David have been invaluable time for me to challenge my ideas, my priorities and my long-term goal, so as to inform my day to day activity. Facing very different situations, David’s coaching consistently helped me to understand the issue I was confronted with, to fix myself new objectives, and a specific method to achieve those targets I fixed. This methodical problem-solving mindset is the most valuable thing I developed thanks to David Roche’s coaching.”

June 2020 Ulysse Roche, Publishing MA, Oxford Brookes University

“I had great pleasure working with David Roche who is a very talented, professional and success driven coach. With his results-driven style, I knew David was the perfect coach for me as I wanted to increase productivity in order to achieve my goals. David was extremely professional during all sessions making me feel comfortable in opening up and he listened to me with no judgment. David’s incisive and challanging questioning got me to take the ownership and accountability for my way forward. Throughout our coaching relationship, David believed in my abilities and empowered me to move forward to achieve the success I’ve been looking for. I would highly recommend David to anyone who is looking for a successful coach.”

June 2020, Marta Kiermacz-Abramek, Polish Radio in London

“David has the unique ability to facilitate deeper thinking during coaching sessions. He encouraged me to reconsider what I truly aspired to and to confront the things that were holding me back. The sessions helped me to take accountability for previously learned behaviours that stopped me from reaching my goals. David also helped me to look at situations with a fresh perspective, enabling me to move forward. I would love to work with David again and can highly recommend him as a coach.”

September 2020, Christelle Correia, Casting Crowns


For David Roche Enterprises Ltd work:

“Byte The Book has been running monthly events with panel disussions for the last 6 years and without a doubt David Roche is one of the best chairs we’ve ever had. He makes it look effortless (it’s not), always puts the speakers at ease (not easy) and is incredibly intelligent and engaging. It’s as if he was born to chair – what a star!”

June 2018, Justine Solomon, Byte The Book

“Publishing’s most entertaining expert”

January 2018, Alison Jones, The Extraordinary Business Book Club

“A huge thank you for coming and talking to the students. It was such an informative and fascinating overview of the publishing industry. The clarity with which you set out the landscape provided a perfect context – I think they would have been quite adrift without it… There were lots of nods of recognition whenever subsequent speakers spoke about the things that you had touched on which might otherwise have utterly baffled them! Thank you for being so generous with your time and your experience.”

March 2017, Jane Barclay, National Film and Television School

“David has visited the University of Central Lancashire many times and has always given excellent value for money. His presentations are informative, engaging and inspirational. I would have no hesitation in highly recommending him for any event. He has also been extremely generous with his time and fully supportive of the students.”

March 2017, Debbie Williams, Head of UCLan Publishing

“David’s leadership, guidance and expertise within the education and reading sector has been a great asset to the governance of BookTrust and an incredibly useful resource to staff. His passion and commitment to education, reading and BookTrust is not only inspiring, but has left a lasting mark on the organisation and all of us who have been fortunate enough to work with him.”

October 2015, Karen Brown, Chair, BookTrust

“One of David’s many strengths is his ability to bring clarity and insight to bear on any given issue. Amiable, exceedingly knowledgeable and very well connected, David bring vast and wide-ranging experience together with a calm, thoughtful and considered opinion to every situation. A creative business leader who has been a great asset to our organisation’s development over several years. I would highly recommend David.”

December 2012, Alistair Burtenshaw, Director of Books & Publishing, Reed Exhibitions

“David Roche acted as a consultant over the course of 6 months in 2011 helping Booktrust devise its new strategy and 3 year business plan at a time when a considerable shift was needed in both the direction and mindset of the charity. David worked closely with me and the senior management team in order to gain a real understanding of our culture as well as our passion and goals, both strategic and financial. He did this with an empathy that is not always evident with consultants and managed to motivate the team to work with him while still challenging us to review thoroughly both existing and future activities. David wrote the three year Strategy and Business Plan with the input of the team, and the Board, and this has proved to be a valuable catalyst for Booktrust to make the necessary changes to grow and secure its future. Personally, I enjoyed working with David and I very much valued the insights and business expertise he brought to the organisation over this period.”

May 2012, Viv Bird, CEO BookTrust

While Group Sales and Trade Marketing Director, HarperCollins Publishing:

“I brought David into HarperCollins in August 2008 to conduct a 2 month review of our Sales and Marketing operations and construct a strategy to take us forward in a changing retail landscape and one where new formats and routes to market were evolving rapidly. David did such a good job on this that I asked him to join the Company full time to implement the changes that he recommended. During the time David worked for HarperCollins I found him to be committed, highly professional and an excellent ambassador for the Company. He is also highly personable, good company and an engaging leader and team player.”

January 2011, Victoria Barnsley, CEO and Publisher of HarperCollins UK and International

“I worked with David on the Main Board at Harper Collins, but also spent time across the table from him as Group Sales and Marketing Director when he was at Waterstone’s. He has a unique perspective on the publishing industry, huge energy, in depth commercial understanding and also appreciates – and enjoys – the subtle nuances of a creative industry. The team he assembled in a relatively short time was talented, motivated and successful and whether working with him or for him, David always seems to bring out the best in people.”

December 2011, John Bond, Managing Director, 4th Estate and Harper Press

“It was a pleasure working with David at HC. David was always fair, balanced and focused on developing good relationship and the business.”

January 2011, John Simpson, CEO, British Bookshops and Stationers

“David was fantastic to work both for and with. Although he was fairly demanding as a client, I learnt an incredible amount during that time. His knowledge and insights are vast as are his network and connections. I can’t recommend David highly enough.”

January 2011, Linda Muir, Managing Director, LMA International

“I can highly recommend David Roche. David is a natural communicator and salesman – he spent his life building relationships with key clients as well as tying down a strategy that would enable us to move forward in a challenging market.”

December 2010, Charlie Redmayne, CEO, Pottermore

“David has an incredibly strong reputation and justly so for being a decisive, driven, and inspirational leader who has an almost unique range of book trade experience having worked at very senior level on both sides of the fence. A very strong measure of a highly capable leader is the results they deliver and the loyalty they get from those around them. David’s natural commercial skills and passionate personality have delivered both in huge amounts. I have no hesitation in recommending David as a leader in the book and media business.”

November 2010, Michael Neil, Managing Director, Bertram Group

“David is an influential, experienced and highly respected business leader, whose gravitas and reputation complements his no-nonsense attitude and easy charm. His management style allows his senior direct-reports to grow, while providing firm guidance based on hard-won experience. He comfortably straddles the publishing business with intimate knowledge of the buying and selling side of the trade, and he is fiercely results-driven.”

November 2010, Vikki van Someren, Group Business Development and Creative Solutions Director, HarperCollins

“David’s broad experience of the book industry and proven ability to operate at the most senior level, as both retailer and publisher, is unique. He builds winning teams. His tenacity, good humour and ability to engender trust are a rare combination of skills in any industry.”

November 2010, Chris Rushby, Sales & Marketing Director, Bertram Books

“To anyone looking for a fiercely bright and entrepreneurial spirit, a seasoned manager and communicator, someone with hard experience on both sides of the publishing divide (buying and selling), David’s your man.”

November 2010, Patrick Janson-Smith, Publisher, Blue Door, HarperCollins Publishers

While CEO Borders (UK & Ireland) Ltd:

“David was extremely supportive of the set up of our MA Publishing at Kingston University: dynamic, full of ideas and very willing to give of both his expertise and time. He has remained on our Advisory Board, and in touch with the  course ever since, which has been much appreciated. His ability to offer advice and input that is both objective (because he has had a life outside publishing) and engaged is particularly valuable.”

November 2010, Alison Baverstock, Course Leader, MA Publishing, Kingston University

“As President of the BA Council David turned it from a talking shop into a more action-oriented decision making body – much to the benefit of all concerned. He used his sense of humour to good effect in controlling a room full of egos and keeping people focused. I would happily work with David again.”

September 2008, Philip Blackwell, CEO, Blackwell Ltd

“David is an excellent and impassioned leader,with inexhaustible energy. David provides a working environment of energy and creativity without compromising ethics and values. He is welcoming of new ideas and always keen to search and improve. As a mentor, he is constantly finding new and resourceful ways to aid his direct reports in improving their chosen career tracks.”

July 2008, Gary Mudie, Group CIO, Circle Health Ltd

“I hired David as CEO of Borders UK based on his exceptionally strong reputation at Waterstone’s and as a leader in the book industry. David quickly proved to be the driven, organized, innovative and strategic leader I thought and hoped he would be. He proved to have a combination of conceptual and tactical skills that allowed him to transform the Borders UK team and lead Borders to a number of industry recognitions as the UK’s preeminent bookseller as well as, more importantly, strong sales results. I enthusiastically recommend David as a leader in the books and media industry.”

July 2008, Rick Vanzura, President, Borders Group International, Borders Group, Inc.

“David is an incredibly talented, focused & driven business leader who has retail in his blood and the balls to make a difference. David has that rare mix of being a tough opponent, makes his company punch above their weight as well as being a great guy to do business with. David makes a real difference to every company I have known him work for.”

July 2008, Steven Edney, Group Sales & Marketing Director, Octopus Publishing Group

While Product Director, Waterstone’s:

“David is a spirited, energetic and highly commercial leader, who quickly establishes good relationships at all levels. He is imaginative, and results focused, with strong analytical ability. He demonstrated his flexibility in moving from HMV to Waterstone’s and rapidly became a popular and respected figue in the book trade. He has great leadership and communication skills and I would not hesitate to hire him again.”

November 2010, Alan Giles, Chairman, Fat Face Ltd

“Tough, bright, no-nonsense and immensely likeable, David was a breath of fresh air in the sometimes cloying world of book publishing. He is an instinctive retailer and never shied away from difficult or unpopular decisions, succeeding in winning the respect and admiration of many in the publishing community – even when they didn’t agree with him. He proved adept at handling the trade press and worked hard to add real value to the book retail community, winning industry awards and plaudits in the process. He is also an excellent – and highly amusing – public speaker.”

July 2008, Christine Martin, Managing Director, The Bookseller

“David was a very commercial, results-driven Product Director. Collaborative in nature, I immensely enjoyed working with David when at Waterstone’s and learned an immense about professional product management from him.”

July 2008, Amy Nelson-Bennett, CEO, Molton Brown

While Product Director, HMV Europe:

“David Roche is hugely experienced, talented senior executive with a strong history of achieving excellent results and driving the bottom line. During his time at HMV he used his strategic and change management skills to position the company and its customer offering to be the dominant force in the home entertainment industry. I have always found David to be commercial, strategic and an excellent people person who is evangelical in driving his team and change within the business. David is a tough and effective negotiator and later in his career became a champion for driving change within the book industry working across retailers and publishers to achieve his goals. I would without hesitation recommend David.”

November 2008, David Bealing, Retail Sales Director, CIC

“I worked with David for eight years at HMV, as a fellow Director of the company. He was an inspirational work colleague and remains one of the most personable individuals it has ever been my pleasure to work with. Incredibly bright and humorous, his input into the strategic direction and planning for the company was invaluable. Extremely versatile, David took on many and varied roles within the organisation and excelled in each and every one. A tremendous talent and a wonderful player to have on the team.”

August 2008, Glen Ward, CEO, ZumBox

“David was product director at HMV for a long period of time in the days when the company was one of the most successful retailers on the UK high street. David is extremely commercial and personable at the same time. He had great loyalty from his staff and was highly respected in the industry. He instigated big changes within HMV and it was no surprise to me that David went on to MD and CEO positions later in his career.”

July 2008, Stuart Rowe, Managing Director,

“David is a highly experienced and effective senior executive. His commercial skills are of the highest level. In my time negotiating with him I always found him to be tough ,fair and an executive who you can trust.He sticks to his word. He’s also cheeky and good fun to do business with – you can do so with 100% confidence.”

July 2008, Mike McMahon, SVP Commercial & Digital, EMI Music

“Outstanding leader transforming the HMV Product Department driving change, improving the customer offer and margin whilst building excellent commercial relationships with the entertainment suppliers. Both strategically incisive and also able to implement change. Responsible for building the HMV market leadership in DVD. Delivered critical projects on time, to budget whilst leading the team with a sense of humour.”

July 2008 1st Mark Bailey, Group Finance Director, The London Linen Supply

“I was Head of Games for HMV and was recruited by David from WH Smith. David was a strong leader of people and process and was immensely well respected both internally and in the external entertainment world. David developed a good team, many of which have gone on to play large roles in retail or within a supplier. A very tough and enjoyable boss to work for and I would have no hesitation in either recommending David or working with him again.”

July 2008, Martyn Gibbs, CEO, Game Group plc

“David was a fantastic representative for HMV, commercially astute who also built a very strong team. He was an extremely tough, but fair, negotiator on their behalf. He was great at spotting strategic opportunities to drive home HMV’s advantage. A typical example of this was when DVD was launched David positioned HMV as the category leader, when previously HMV were known as a music store and weren’t renowned for their VHS business. also good fun to be around.”

July 2008, Neil McEwan, Managing Director, Warner Home Video Uk & Ireland