Alan Sugar more commonly known as Lord Sugar is a British businessman, entrepreneur and media person. With a net worth of £770 million, he was rated 89th in the Sunday Times Rich List of 2011. He is also the founder of Amstrad which is his largest business venture.
Alan Sugar is probably best known by some for being the presenter & host of ‘The Apprentice‘ (2005 – present), a business reality show featuring budding entrepreneurs and young business people who are set on becoming Sir Alan’s business partner.
The programme candidates work in teams; having been set a business task based around certain themes testing salesmanship, negotiation, requisitioning, leadership, teamwork, and organisation. With each episode covering a single task, at the end of the programme one member is fired. Leaving at the end of the series one winner. The series originally developed and shown in America with Donald Trump as the host; has proved very popular and made Sir Alan Sugar well known to a wider public.
Sugar was born on 24th March 1947 in Hackney, London. He went to Northwold Primary School and Brooke House Secondary School. He earned his pocket money by working with a greengrocer.
Alan Sugar & Amstrad
Lord Sugar founded Amstrad in 1968; he chose this name as it was the acronym of his own name’s initials. The company started as a wholesaler and importer/exporter but it began selling consumer electronics. The business expanded and in the 1980s was listed in the stock exchange. The profits doubled each year and at its highest, Amstrad’s stock market value had reached £1.2 billion.
The 90s however turned out to be a difficult period; when they were delivered business PC’s by Seagate with a compromised quality. This resulted in consumer dissatisfaction and consequently a lost reputation which they could never get back. Finally Amstrad was bought off by Broadcaster BSkyB for only £125 million.
Another business venture by Sugar was the purchase of the football club Tottenham Hotspur in 1991. This journey also turned out to be a rocky one involving few victories and more problems. In 2001, Lord Sugar sold most of his share in the club to leisure group ENIC. 27% of the club for £22 million and the remaining shares for £25 million in 2007. Thus bringing a close to almost 16 years of relationship with the football club. He called this time ‘a waste of his life’.
After this Alan Sugar entered many other ventures such as ‘Amsair’ (Amsair Executive Aviation) which he founded in 1993; ‘Amsprop’ (an investment firm); ‘Viglen Ltd’ (an IT services provider) which he also chaired till 2009. Some other companies by Lord Sugar include; ‘Amscreen’ that specializes in the sales of advertising space on digital screens for hospitals, retailers and leisure places. Sugar is also the chairman of Amscreen which is an IPTV project.
Sweet Alan Sugar
Despite his ferocious temper and generally feisty manner, Sir Alan Sugar is heavily involved in charity work. He has long been a generous supporter of Great Ormond Street children’s hospital and was instrumental in the resurrection of the Hackney Empire theatre, a classic example of Victoriana that he knew well as a child.
And he complains about his TV persona, saying; “You don’t get to see any of the light-hearted, friendly side; as far as the TV producers are concerned, that doesn’t put bums on seats”. Abrasive, opinionated, hard-working; Sir Alan is living, growling proof that you can reach the top and yet retain a distinct Cockney flavour.
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Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.
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