The founder and CEO of a New York-based fast food chain took his own life inside his factory this weekend, for reasons that aren't yet clear. 57-year-old Lowell Hawthorne emigrated to the US from Jamaica in 1989. That same year, he founded Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill in The Bronx. He's built his company tirelessly from the ground up, until Saturday night.
Hawthorne was found inside the company's factory in Morrisania in The Bronx, according to New York Daily News. Employees say they saw his distinct Tesla 85D parked irregularly out front. When they got inside, they discovered Hawthorne with an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Golden Krust began as a small imitation of Hawthorne's father's bakery back in Jamaica. Today, it has over 120 locations across nine different states. The restaurant was the first Caribbean-owned business in America to be granted a franchise license. In addition to the restaurants, Golden Krust produces Jamaican beef patties for retail stores, selling about 50 million per year.
There's no word yet on who will take over as CEO of Golden Krust in the wake of Hawthorne's death. Everyone from family and friends to employees are mourning the mogul. People who have worked for him told reporters he was "the kind of guy you want to work for."
Hawthorne published a memoir in 2012 titled The Baker's Son. It's lauded for its originality, heart, and useful content. The book is widely used in business education, as well as literary non-fiction circles.
My condolences to the friends, family and employees of Jamaica-born Lowell Hawthorne, CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill.
He headed the largest Caribbean franchise chain in the US, with more than 120 stores. pic.twitter.com/PX9MpD2Mkg— Andrew Holness (@AndrewHolnessJM) December 3, 2017