Nigel Doughty, co-founder of private equity firm Doughty Hanson & Co. and owner of English soccer team Nottingham Forest, died today in his home at age 54.
“It is with enormous sadness that Nottingham Forest announce the death of the club’s owner,” the team said on its website today. Doughty was found dead in his gym at his home in northeast England, the team said.
Doughty founded his private equity firm with Richard Hanson in 1995. They had worked together since 1985, when they started a buyout unit at Standard Chartered Plc. Between 1987 and 2002, they generated $1.94 billion of cash from investments that cost $733 million.
Doughty had a net worth of about 130 million pounds ($205 million), according to the 2011 Sunday Times Rich List. Among Doughty Hanson’s investments are luggage-maker Tumi, British cinema operator Vue and Norit, a Texas-based maker of activated- carbon purification systems, according to the firm’s website.
“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,” London-based Doughty Hanson said in an e-mailed statement today. “Our thoughts are very much with his family at this time.”
Among causes he supported, Doughty was a donor to the U.K. Labour party. In 2009, he contributed 1 million pounds ($1.6 million) to Labour, led at the time by then Prime Minister Gordon Brown, as it prepared for a general election it lost in 2010 to current Prime Minister David Cameron.
Doughty bought Nottingham Forest for 11 million pounds in 1999, saving it from bankruptcy, according to the U.K. Press Association. He invested almost 100 million pounds of his own money in the team, the Press Association said.
He stepped down as chairman on Oct. 13, 2011, the same day as Steve McClaren, a former manager of the English national soccer team, quit as Nottingham Forest’s manager.
Nottingham Forest had a “very poor start” to the current season, the team said in announcing Doughty’s resignation. Doughty had been responsible for hiring McClaren.
The team currently stands 23rd in the 24 team Championship, the second-tier league in English soccer. It had reached the playoffs for promotion to the Premier League in the past two seasons.
Doughty was born on June 10, 1957.