Parents in Business featuring Denise Coates

Parents in Business featuring Denise Coates

This week our parent in business is Denise Coates. Denise cuts an unassuming figure around her hometown of Stoke, despite employing 3,000 locals at her company. As well as employing an army of people, Ms. Coates has climbed to the number two spot of the richest women in Britain list, amassing a fortune of over £6 billion. So, how did she earn such wealth? Denise is the CEO of online betting giant bet365.

Ms. Coates set-up the company online back in the early 2000s and it has gone from strength to strength. The brand continues to post impressive growth numbers, ensuring bet365 is an industry-leading iGaming company with their portfolio of services year on year. Of course, this type of success doesn’t just fall on your lap. It has been an incredible journey from a portacabin in Stoke, to a world leader in the field.

On top of running a hugely successful business, Ms. Coates also runs a household with a family of five children. It has been said that Ms Coates family is her top priority and as such, she shuns much of the media attention that comes her way. Read on to find out more about this fiercely private woman’s incredible rise to the top.

Where It All Began

Miss Coates attended Sheffield University where she graduated with a first-class degree in Econometrics. This is the application of statistical methods to economic data, which would later push her towards moving the family business online.

Her father Peter Coates had a small chain of horse racing betting shops ‘Provincial Racing’ in their local area. After graduation, Denise joined the family business and soon grew it from a few shops into 50. Anyone would agree that that sort of growth in itself is a huge achievement. However, Ms. Coates identified that the future of betting was online an bought the bet365 domain name for less than £20,000 from eBay.

To get the ball rolling online, Ms. Coates was able to secure a loan of £15m by pulling together all the family assets:

“We mortgaged the betting shops and put it all into online,” she said at the time. “We knew the industry required big start-up costs, but we gambled everything on it.”

The rest, as they say, is history. Ms. Coates set a record of being the highest-paid chief executive in the UK with a huge £323m pay-out last year. And the company shows no signs of slowing.

Behind Closed Doors

Behind the business is a family. Ms. Coates is married to her university sweetheart; Richard Smith and they live together with their five children. Little is known about the personal life of Ms Coates as she likes to remain out of the limelight. 

“I really don’t enjoy the attention. The public side does not come naturally to me. I’m not saying I’m a shrinking violet. I’m not. I’ve been bossy all my life”

What is known, however, is that four of the five children the couple have together are adopted and from the same family. They live in a converted barn in Cheshire and prefer to stay out of the media.

Charitable Work

On top of this, Ms. Coates understands the importance of giving back. She set up the bet365 Foundation in 2012 (now named the Denise Coates Foundation) and has donated hundreds of millions of pounds to various charities. Most recently, the foundation awarded £10m to the University Hospitals on the North Midlands to support staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

Successful Women in Business

It has been questioned in the media if it is possible to run both a successful company and a household. These sorts of questions pop-up all the time for those at the top but Ms. Coates is doing plenty to battle the stigma of being a parent in business. As possibly the highest paid chief executive globally, Ms. Coates is an inspiration for women around the world.


Parents in Business featuring Denise Coates

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