The sudden death of former Jennings Group managing director Nas Khan has prompted tributes from the business and former colleagues.
AM understands that Khan passed away after being taken ill yesterday (November 28).
His sudden and unexpected death comes just over two months after Khan sold Jennings Group to Lookers, retaining only the Stockton Kia franchise and Harley Davidson franchises in Leeds and Gateshead, which had been re-branded under the Opus Group banner.
While the driven and active 58-year-old told delegates at Tees Valley Business Club seminar just a fortnight ago to "Make every second count; time matters", one former colleague said that the philanthropic family man who had “never gotten over the death of his mother” two months ago.
The group spokesperson said: “Nas Khan was one of the best bosses and one of the nicest people you’d wish to meet.
“He was a true family man and it’s been a very challenging year for him, with the sale of the company and the death of his mother. I don’t think he ever recovered from that.”
On Twitter today, photographer Ian McClelland, a long-time friend of the dealer group boss and charity founder, said: “I’m sad to report the sudden death of my colleague and friend of 25 years Dr Nas Khan OBE, former MD of Jennings Motor Group.
“He was a philanthropic businessman receiving many awards for his charity work both in the UK and his native Pakistan. He was a true gent and family man. RIP.”
Pakistan-born Khan, the former owner and managing director of the Middlesbrough-based dealer group, was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his charity work and contribution to the economy in April last year.
Speaking at the time, he said: “It’s a tremendous honour to receive such an award – I am very humbled and extremely honoured."
Khan had also recieved widespread recognistion for his charity work.
In 2010, he embarked on an epic charity campaign to help save and rebuild the lives of people in Pakistan, following devastating floods. An appeal was set up through his own registered charity, The Emaan Foundation.
Raising £120,000 not only provided essential life-saving aid in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, but it also financed the construction of a new village.
A total of 60 new homes were built for people in the village of Rahim Yar Khan, with livestock and fresh water also being provided.
On completion of the village, which has officially been named ‘The Emaan Village’ after the charity, Khan launched a second appeal with the aim to build a health centre for the village community and surrounding areas.
As managing director of Jennings Motor Group, Khan was responsible for 524 members of staff across the company’s Ford, Kia, Mazda, Seat and Mitsubishi branches located from Tyneside to Teesside.
More recently he had added two Harley-Davidson dealerships, in Leeds and Gateshead, and a Subway store in Stockton, Teesside, to the business' portfolio, before its September sale to Lookers.
In addition to being awarded an OBE, Khan had also been the recipient of Ford Motor Company’s ‘Salute to Dealers’ global award, as well as being awarded Teesside Business Executive of the Year at the North East Business Awards.