Nigel Doughty dies unexpectedly, aged 54

Nigel Doughty, the co-chairman and co-founder of UK-based private equity firm Doughty Hanson, has passed away unexpectedly at the age of 54.

Nigel Doughty, co-founder of European private equity firm Doughty Hanson, was found dead in the gym at his house in Lincolnshire on Saturday.

The firm, which he co-founded alongside Dick Hanson in 1990, issued a short statement: “On behalf of Dick Hanson, and all the management and staff of Doughty Hanson, we are tremendously sorry to learn of the death of Nigel Doughty at home this afternoon. Our thoughts are very much with his family at this time.”

Doughty was the chairman of all the firm's private equity, real estate and technology venture funds.

He was a founding member of Standard Chartered Bank's buyout unit in 1984, where he met Dick Hanson. In 1990, the pair established CWB Partners, a private equity joint venture between Standard Chartered and Westdeutsche Landesbank. The pair then span out of CWB to form Doughty Hanson as an independent group.

As well as building up the firm, Doughty has been at the forefront of efforts to promote corporate social responsibility within the industry. In 2006, he made a personal endowment at Cranfield School of Management to establish the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility.

He was a devoted fan of Nottingham Forest, rescuing the football club from insolvency in 1999 by acquiring it for £11 million (€13 million; $17 million). He served as its chairman for more than a decade until October last year, and reportedly invested more than £100 million of his personal wealth in the club over the years.

The club issued a short statement, saying: “It is with enormous sadness that Nottingham Forest announce the death of the club's owner Nigel Doughty. The club would like to appeal for the privacy of Mr Doughty's family to be observed at this sad time.”

Doughty was also a regular donor to the UK's Labour Party, and has served as the party's assistant treasurer.