Perhaps it’s a sign of how busy I’ve been but it was a week before I heard that former Nottingham Forest chairman Nigel Doughty had died, suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 54.
Like many Forest fans, I didn’t always understand his decisions and, given his background in business and management, I found some of the things he did at the club somewhat surprising. There is no doubt, though, that he dug Forest out of a financial hole. He didn’t deserve the vitriol directed at him by some of the fans.
But Nigel Doughty will be remembered for other reasons too. In 2006 he set up the Doughty Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility at Cranfield University. He worked for and donated to charity in both a personal and a corporate capacity. After his death, tributes came from Conservative and Labour politicians. These obituaries from the Guardian, the Telegraph the BBC and Nottingham’s Left Lion give you some idea of the man’s character.
Like the Forest fans, some of the people he worked with will probably question some of the things he did. In general, though, as the Independent’s Ben Chu says, he left the businesses he acquired in a better financial state than he found them. If moral capitalism really is the new black, Nigel Doughty was ahead of his time.
It goes without saying that Doughty will he will be remembered by Forest fans but his example should be noted by business leaders and policy makers too. Nigel Doughty showed that not all private equity bosses are asset-stripping princes of darkness. In the grand scheme of things, that’s even more important than the rescue of my football team.