David Richards

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General Sir David Richards (Lord Richards of Herstmonceux) is the former head of the British armed forces. He was Chief of the Defence Staff and Chief of the General Staff.

Richards is now a crossbench peer in the House of Lords, having joined on 24 February 2014.[1]

Since retiring in 2013, Richards has advised the repressive governments of Bahrain and United Arab Emirates as well as the arms firm Dyncorp, among others. Other controversial clients include the oil company Vitol and the King of Jordan.

The former commander-in-chief was listed as a keynote speaker at the Bahrain International Defence Exhibition and Conference in October 2017. His talk was on 'Regional alliances: Their role in security, challenges and opportunities'. [2]

Gen. Sir David Richards at the NATO Summit in Chicago, Ill., May 20, 2012. Photo credit: Ash Carter

Army career

After graduating from university, Richards was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1971. He has completed three tours of duty in Northern Ireland, led the British contingent in East Timor in 1999, twice commanded a UK joint task in Sierra Leone in 2000, served as commander of the Nato operation in Afghanistan between May 2006 and February 2007 and commander-in-chief of UK land forces from 2008-2009.[3][4]

He was appointed Chief of the General Staff in 2009 and Chief of the Defence Staff in 2010[3][5]until he retired in July 2013.

Revolving Door

Since retiring from the army in 2013, Richards has forged a lucrative career as a 'strategic consultant' for a range of clients, some controversial. He is on record as saying he does not lobby the British Government on his clients' behalf.

Strategic advice, 'not lobbying or anything remotely like it'

Lord Richards is the founder, chairman and director of Palliser Associates Ltd, which has provided strategic advice to governments and companies since 2013, and is 100 per cent owned by Richards and his wife. Clients have included:

In 2015 Richards asked the Prime Minister's Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (APPG) about accepting new commissions under his independent consultancies Equilibrium Gulf Ltd and Equilibrium Global Ltd. These included organisations such as The Brenthurst Foundation, Huntsworth, Apache Asia and Dyncorp. ACOBA approved all as falling under the terms of his consultancy.[6]

When asked about his consultancies by the Wall Street Journal in 2014, Richards said he only advises foreign governments and does not lobby the British government. "I set up Palliser and EQ-G [Equilibrium Global] because of my frustration over the lack of strategic understanding, globally, and a belief that I could help governments and companies where appropriate do much better. This is not lobbying or anything remotely like it," he says.[7] In March 2018 Richard's entry on the Lords Register of Interests stated that he remained chairman and a director of both companies but had no personal clients. [8]

Richards is also the non-executive chairman of Arturius International Ltd (a company started by ex-servicemen and specialising in logistic and transport services)[1] and has acted as an adviser to the International Institute for Strategy Studies since 2013 and a director of global asset management firm CQS since 2015[4]

Overseas visits: Abu Dhabi, Burma, Geneva, Oman, Sierra Leone


  • Visit to Oman, 22-24 April 2017, 'to address Omani National Defence College on Strategy; fee and travel expenses paid to Member'
  • Visit to Abu Dhabi, 7-8 December 2017, 'to attend conference; flight and expenses paid for by the government of Abu Dhabi' [9]


US and Oman

  • Visit with wife to Tufts University, Boston, Mass, USA, 16-21 February 2016, to receive Dr Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award 2016 from the University; the University paid for Member's travel and expenses and for Lady Richards's expenses but not her travel costs which were met by the Member
  • Visit with wife to Oman, 14-17 April 2016, to address Oman National Defence College on Strategy; fee paid, and travel expenses met for Member and wife


  • Visit to Burma, 25-30 March 2015, made on behalf of the charity Inter-Mediate and DFID/FCO, to advise and maintain good relations with the Burmese military and politicians as they continue the process of democratisation in Burma; a fee and expenses were paid


Sierra Leone, Geneva, Burma

  • Visit to Sierra Leone, 2-4 May 2014, to receive decoration from the President and engage in discussions on Sierra Leone's development plans; to visit Milton Margai School for the Blind (of which the Member is a Patron) and the Sierra Leone Ex-Servicemen's Association in the Member's capacity as Deputy Grand President of the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League; costs of visit (Business Class flights and expenses including two nights' hotel accommodation) met by Melita Holdings; no fee was paid
  • Visit to Geneva with wife, 15-16 May 2014, to address British-Swiss Chamber of Commerce; no fee was paid but cost of business class airfares, one night's accommodation in Geneva plus incidental expenses were met by British-Swiss Chamber of Commerce
  • Visit to Burma, 1-4 June 2014, made on behalf of the charity Inter-Mediate and DFID/FCO, to advise and maintain good relations with the Burmese military and politicians as they continue the process of democratisation in Burma; a fee and expenses were paid [10]

Speaking engagements

As declared in the House of Lords Register of Interests:

  • Speaking engagement, 10 February 2016, Buckingham University (fee and travel expenses paid)
  • Speaking engagement, 13 February 2016, speech to the President Murtala Muhammed 40th Anniversary Conference, Abuja, Nigeria (fee and expenses paid)
  • Speaking engagement, 15 March 2016: Talk for Price Waterhouse Cooper in Leeds as part of their Business Leaders Programme; fee and travel expenses paid


  • Speaking engagement: visit to Oman with wife, 10-14 April 2015, to give lecture at National Defence College; fee paid, together with costs of accommodation and travel
  • Speaking engagement, 11 March 2015, Buckingham University War Studies Course (fee and overnight expenses)
  • Speaking engagement, RAC Club, 23 June 2015
  • Speaking engagement, 26 February 2015, Dauntsey's School, West Lavington, Wilshire
  • Speaking engagement, 9 October 2015, Goldman Sachs Management Seminar (fee and overnight accommodation paid)
  • Speaking engagement, 15 Dec 2014, London School of PR

Gifts, hospitality

  • Attendance at 4-day conference, 13-16 June 2015, on SS Queen Elizabeth organised by Midlands Business Council Member received a fee and expenses; wife was also present as a guest of the Council

Bahrain visit

In April 2017 Lord Richards met with Bahrain's minister of foreign affairs, Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa in Manama. The state-run Bahrain news outlet reported that:

'During the meeting, the minister welcomed the guest, hailing the historical close ties linking the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United Kingdom and praising the constant progress of these relations that pour into the interests of the two friendly countries and peoples. '
In his turn, Lord Richards thanked the minister and praised the key role being played by the Kingdom of Bahrain in underpinning regional peace and stability, wishing the kingdom every progress and prosperity. The meeting also touched on the main developments in the region and across the world. [11]


As a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Defence and Security Issues, the Member attends regular meetings at which the value of the hospitality received over the course of a calendar year exceeds the registration threshold of £140. [1]

He is also a visiting Professor of Exeter University (unpaid) and an Honorary Fellow of both King’s College London and Cardiff University. He is a senior adviser to the International Institute of Strategic Studies and a Governor of the Ditchley Foundation.

External resources

  • Campaign Against the Arms Trade, David Richards, Meetings, Political Influence Database


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Lord Richards of Herstmonceux Parliament.uk, accessed 23 December 2014
  2. BIDEC 2017
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sir David Richards, new head of the British Army: profile Telegraph, 17 October 2008, accessed 23 December 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 IISS announces the appointment of General Sir David Richards as Senior Adviser International Institute for Strategy Studies, 23 October 2013, accessed 23 December 2014
  5. Currently serving as the Chief of the General Staff, General Sir David Richards will take up the post of Chief of the Defence Staff in October… Gov.UK, 14 July 2010, accessed 23 December 2014
  6. Gov.UK Business Appointments Applications: Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, 27 May 2015, accessed 23 September 2015
  7. Politics and Business in the House of Lords Wall Street Journal, accessed 23 December 2014
  8. Lord Richards, www.parliament.uk n.d. last accessed 21 March 2018
  9. Lords Register of Interests, accessed 21 March 2018
  10. Lords' Register of interests archive, 2014, accessed 13 September 2017
  11. Foreign Minister receives Lord David Richards, Bahrain News Agency, 20 April 2017, accessed 11 October 2017