David Lockhart, co-founder of NewRiver and non-executive chairman of pubco Hawthorn Leisure has passed away.

During his career, Lockhart set up three successful business – co-founding NewRiver with Allan Lockhart and Mark Davies in 2009.

He played a key part in developing the group – which now has a portfolio valued at £1.2b – before stepping down as chief executive in 2018.

NewRiver aquired the 298-strong Hawthorn Leisure for £106.8m in 2018. 

“David was a close personal friend and mentor, and we are deeply saddened by this news,” said Hawthorn CEO Mark Davies. “The thoughts of everyone at Hawthorn are with David’s family at this difficult time.

“As Chairman of Hawthorn, David provided invaluable counsel and advice to our board, and we benefited hugely from his long and distinguished career in business. He and I worked tirelessly with our brilliant team to help create a market leading community pub company.

“David was a brilliant entrepreneur and will be remembered for his warmth, good humour, wisdom and sharp intellect and we will all miss him dearly.”