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  • Alan Michael Sugar, Baron Sugar Kt is an English business magnate, media personality, and political

  • advisor. From the East End of London, Sugar had an estimated fortune of £700m in 2011,

  • and was ranked 89th in the Sunday Times Rich List 2011. In 2007, he sold his remaining

  • interest in the consumer electronics company Amstrad, his largest and best-known business

  • venture. Sugar was chairman of Tottenham Hotspur from

  • 1991 to 2001. Sugar appears in the BBC TV series The Apprentice, which has been broadcast

  • annually since 2005 and is based upon the popular US television show of the same name,

  • featuring the American entrepreneur Donald Trump.

  • Early life Sugar was born in Hackney, east London, into

  • a Jewish family. He is the youngest of four children of Fay and Nathan Sugar. His father

  • was a tailor in the garment industry of the East End.

  • When Sugar was young, his family lived in a council flat. Because of his profuse, curly

  • hair, he was nicknamed "Mop head", a name that he still goes by in the present day.

  • He attended Northwold Primary School and then Brooke House Secondary School in Upper Clapton,

  • Hackney, and made extra money by working at a greengrocers. After leaving school at 16,

  • he worked briefly for the civil service as a statistician at the Ministry of Education.

  • He started selling car aerials and electrical goods out of a van which he had bought with

  • his savings of £50. Personal life

  • Sugar and his wife Ann married on 28 April 1968; they have two sons and a daughter. Sugar

  • and his wife live in Chigwell, Essex. They celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary

  • on 11 May 2008 with a party at their home, where Sir Bruce Forsyth was the compere, Jackie

  • Mason the comic and Sir Elton John played a set. His niece through marriage is actress

  • Rita Simons, best known for playing Roxy Mitchell on the popular UK soap opera EastEnders.

  • A collector of classic Rolls Royce and Bentley motor cars, Sugar owns a Rolls Royce Ghost

  • with the number plate AMS1, which appears during all episodes of The Apprentice. A qualified

  • pilot with 30 years' experience, Sugar owns a Cirrus SR22 four-seat aircraft, based at

  • Stapleford Airfield. During an attempted landing at City Airport Manchester on 5 July 2008,

  • Sugar suffered a crash in this aircraft because of wet and soft field conditions. No injuries

  • were sustained, although Sugar was said to be "very shaken". He is a fan of and the former

  • owner of Tottenham Hotspur. In February 2009, it was reported that Sugar

  • had initiated legal proceedings against The Sun newspaper following a report that he had

  • been named on a "hit list" of British Jews in response to Israel's ongoing military operation

  • in Gaza. The threats are alleged to have been made by Glen Jenvey, the source of the original

  • story in The Sun, who posted to a Muslim website under a false identity.

  • Sugar now has an estimated fortune of £900m. Political involvement

  • In February 2009, the Evening Standard journalist Andrew Gilligan claimed that Sugar had been

  • approached to be the Labour candidate for Mayor of London in 2012. Sugar subsequently

  • ridiculed the claim in an interview with The Guardian. But, during Prime Minister Gordon

  • Brown's cabinet reshuffle on 5 June 2009, the BBC reported that Sugar would become Lord

  • Sugar and had been offered a job as the government's "Enterprise Champion". On 7 June 2009 Sugar

  • sought to clarify the non-political nature of his appointment. He stated that he would

  • not be joining the government, that the appointment was politically neutral, and that all he wanted

  • to do was help businesses and entrepreneurs. In August 2014, Sugar was one of 200 public

  • figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence

  • in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.

  • Ventures Amstrad

  • Sugar founded Amstrad in 1968, the name being an acronym of his initialsAlan Michael

  • Sugar Trading. The company began as a general importer/exporter and wholesaler, but soon

  • specialised in consumer electronics. By 1970, the first manufacturing venture was underway.

  • He achieved lower production prices by using injection moulding plastics for hi-fi turntable

  • covers, severely undercutting competitors who used vacuum-forming processes. Manufacturing

  • capacity was soon expanded to include the production of audio amplifiers and tuners.

  • In 1980, Amstrad was listed on the London Stock Exchange and during the 1980s Amstrad

  • doubled its profit and market value every year. By 1984, recognising the opportunity

  • of the home computer era, Amstrad launched an 8-bit machine, the Amstrad CPC 464. Although

  • the CPC range were attractive machines, with CP/M-capability and a good BASIC interpreter,

  • it had to compete with its arch-rivals, the more graphically complex Commodore 64 and

  • the popular Sinclair ZX Spectrum, not to mention the highly sophisticated BBC Micro. Despite

  • this, three million units were sold worldwide with a long production life of eight years.

  • It inspired an East German version with Russian Z80 clone processors. In 1985, Sugar had another

  • major breakthrough with the launch of the Amstrad PCW 8256 word processor which, although

  • made of cheap components, retailed at over £300. In 1986 Amstrad bought the rights to

  • the Sinclair computer product line and produced two more ZX Spectrum models in a similar style

  • to their CPC machines. It also developed the PC1512, a PC compatible computer, which became

  • quite popular in Europe and was the first in a line of Amstrad PCs.

  • At its peak, Amstrad achieved a stock market value of £1.2 billion, but the 1990s proved

  • a difficult time for the company. The launch of a range of business PCs was marred by unreliable

  • hard disks, which occasioned a high level of customer dissatisfaction and damage to

  • Amstrad's reputation in the personal computer market, from which it never recovered. Subsequently,

  • Amstrad sued Seagate for $100 million in lost revenue. In the early 1990s, Amstrad began

  • to focus on portable computers rather than desktop computers. Also, in 1990, Amstrad

  • entered the gaming market with the Amstrad GX4000, but it was a commercial failure, largely

  • because there was only a poor selection of games available on it. Additionally, it was

  • immediately superseded by the Japanese consoles: Mega Drive and Super Nintendo, which both

  • had a much more comprehensive selection of games. In 1993, Amstrad released the PenPad,

  • a PDA, and bought into Betacom and Viglen, so as to focus more on telecommunications

  • rather than computers. Amstrad released the first of its combined telephony and e-mail

  • devices, called the [email protected]iler, followed by the [email protected]ilerplus in 2002, neither of which

  • sold in great volume. On 31 July 2007 it was announced that broadcaster

  • BSkyB had agreed to buy Amstrad for about £125m. At the time of the takeover, Sugar

  • commented that he wished to play a part in the business, saying: "I turn 60 this year

  • and I have had 40 years of hustling in the business, but now I have to start thinking

  • about my team of loyal staff, many of whom have been with me for many years." On 2 July

  • 2008 it was announced that Sugar was standing down from Amstrad as chairman, to focus solely

  • on his other business interests. Tottenham Hotspur

  • After a take-over battle with Robert Maxwell, Sugar teamed up with Terry Venables and bought

  • Tottenham Hotspur football club in June 1991. Although Sugar's initial investment helped

  • ease the financial troubles the club was suffering at the time, his treatment of Tottenham as

  • a business venture and not a footballing one made him an unpopular figure among the Spurs

  • fans. In Sugar's nine years as chairman, Tottenham Hotspur did not finish in the top six in the

  • league and won just one trophy, the 1999 Football League Cup.

  • Sugar sacked Venables the night before the 1993 FA Cup Final, a decision which led to

  • Venables appealing to the high courts for reinstatement. A legal battle for the club

  • took place over the summer, which Sugar won. The decision to sack Venables angered many

  • of Tottenham fans, and Sugar later said, "I felt as though I'd killed Bambi."

  • In 1992 he was the only representative of the then big five who voted in favour of Sky's

  • bid for Premier League television rights. The other four voted in favour of ITV's bid,

  • as it had promised to show big fives games more often. At the time of the vote, Sugar's

  • company Amstrad was developing satellite dishes for Sky.

  • In 1994 Sugar financed the transfers of three stars of the 1994 World Cup: Ilie Dumitrescu,

  • Gica Popescu, and most notablyrgen Klinsmann, who had an excellent first season in English

  • football, being named Footballer of the Year. Because Spurs had not qualified for the UEFA

  • Cup, Klinsmann decided to invoke an opt-out clause in his contract and left for Bayern

  • Munich in the summer of 1995. Sugar appeared on television holding the last shirt Klinsmann

  • wore for Spurs and said he wouldn't wash his car with it. He called foreigners coming into

  • the Premier League at high wages as "Carlos Kickaballs". Klinsmann retaliated by calling

  • Sugar "a man without honour", and said: "He only ever talks about money. He never

  • talks about the game. I would say there is a big question mark over whether Sugar's heart

  • is in the club and in football. The big question is what he likes more, the business or the

  • football?" Klinsmann re-signed for Tottenham on loan in December 1997.

  • In October 1998, former Tottenham striker Teddy Sheringham released his autobiography,

  • in which he attacked Sugar as the reason he left Tottenham in 1997. Sheringham said Sugar

  • had accused him of feigning injury during a long spell on the sidelines during the 1993/1994

  • season. He wrote that Sugar had refused to give him the five-year contract he wanted,

  • as he had not believed Sheringham would still get into the Tottenham team when he was 36.

  • Sheringham returned to Tottenham after his spell at Manchester United and continued to

  • start for the first team until he was released in the summer of 2003, at age 37. Sheringham

  • said that Sugar lacked ambition and was hypocritical. As an example, Sugar asked him for recommendations

  • of players; when Sheringham suggested England midfielder Paul Ince, Sugar refused because

  • he did not want to spend £4 million on a player who would soon be 30. After Sheringham

  • left Spurs, Sugar approved the signing of Les Ferdinand, aged 31, for a club record

  • £6 million, on higher wages than Sheringham had wanted.

  • Sugar appointed seven managers in his time at Spurs. The first was Peter Shreeves, followed

  • by the dual management team of Doug Livermore and Ray Clemence, former Spurs midfielder

  • Osvaldo Ardiles, and up and coming young manager Gerry Francis. In 1997 Sugar stunned the footballing

  • world by appointing the relatively unknown Swiss manager Christian Gross. Gross lasted

  • 9 months as Spurs finished in 14th place in 1998, and began the next season with just

  • 3 points from their opening three games. Sugar next appointed George Graham, a former player

  • and manager of bitter rivals Arsenal. Despite his earning Tottenham's first trophy in 8

  • years, the Spurs fans never warmed to Graham, partly because of his Arsenal connections.

  • They disliked the negative, defensive style of football which he had Spurs playing; fans

  • claimed it was not the "Tottenham way". In February 2001, Sugar sold his majority

  • stake at Tottenham to leisure group ENIC, selling 27% of the club for £22 million.

  • In June 2007, Sugar sold his remaining shares to ENIC for £25 million, ending his 16-year

  • association with the club. He has described his time at Tottenham as "a waste of my life".

  • Sugar later donated £3 million from the proceeds of the sale of his interests in Tottenham

  • Hotspur to the refurbishment of the Hackney Empire in his native East End of London.

  • Amsair Amsair Executive Aviation was founded in 1993,

  • and is run by Sugar's son Daniel Patrick. As with Amstrad, the name Amsair is an acronym

  • taken from the initials of Sugar's name "Alan Michael Sugar Air." Amsair operates a large

  • Cessna fleet, and one Embraer Legacy 650 with the registration G-SUGA, offering business

  • and executive jet charters. Amsprop

  • Amsprop is an investment firm owned by Sugar and is now controlled by his son Daniel Patrick.

  • Simon Ambrose, winner of the 2007 series of The Apprentice, started working for Amsprop

  • Estates after the series finished. However, in April 2010, he was reported to be leaving

  • to start his own venture. Viglen Ltd

  • Sugar was the owner of Viglen Ltd, an IT services provider catering primarily to the education

  • and public sector. He resigned his position on 1 July 2009. Following the sale of Amstrad

  • PLC to BSkyB, Viglen is now Sugar's sole IT establishment.

  • Amscreen Sugar is Chairman of Amscreen, a company run

  • by his eldest son Simon Sugar, specialising in selling advertising space on digital signage

  • screens that it provides to retailers, medical centres and leisure venues.

  • Apprentice winner Yasmina Siadatan works there, selling into the NHS.

  • The screens use a Face detection system called OptimEyes to try to identify age and sex of

  • its viewers YouView

  • On 7 March 2011, Sugar replaced Kip Meek on the board of the BBC initiated IPTV project

  • known as YouView which is also backed by ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 and broadband providers

  • including BT and TalkTalk. Sugar was paid £500,000 for chairing YouView for the year

  • ending March 2012. Television appearances

  • The Apprentice

  • Sugar became the star of the BBC reality show The Apprentice which has had one series broadcast

  • each year from 2005, in the same role as Donald Trump in the US version. Sugar fires a candidate

  • each week until one candidate is left, who is then employed in his company or wins a

  • partnership with Sugar, including his investment of £250,000 to establish their own business.

  • As a condition for appearing in the third series, Sugar placed a requirement that the

  • show be more business-orientated rather than just entertainment and that he should be portrayed

  • in a less harsh light, to counter his somewhat belligerent reputation. He also expressed

  • a desire that the calibre of the candidates should be higher than those who had appeared

  • in the second series and that the motives of the candidates for participating are scrutinised

  • more carefully, given that certain of the candidates in previous series had used their

  • successful experience in the show as a springboard to advance their own careers.

  • Sugar has criticised the US version of The Apprentice because "they've made the fatal

  • error of trying to change things just for the sake of it and it backfired."

  • Young Apprentice

  • Young Apprentice is a British reality television programme in which a group of twelve young

  • people, aged 16 and 17, compete to win a £25,000 prize from the Lord Sugar. The six-part series

  • began on BBC One and BBC HD on Wednesday, 12 May 2010, concluding on Thursday, 10 June

  • of the same year, and also featured Nick Hewer and Karren Brady as Sugar's advisors. Karren

  • Brady made her debut on Junior Apprentice, because it aired before she appeared on the

  • adult version. The programme concluded with Sugar awarding the prize fund to 17-year-old

  • Arjun Rajyagor and Tim Ankers finished in second place.

  • The second series started in October 2011, and this time featured eight episodes and

  • twelve contestants. The series was won by Zara Brownless, with James McCullough as runner-up.

  • Originally proposed in March 2008 and confirmed in June 2009, Junior Apprentice received mostly

  • positive reviews from critics. The programme is a spin-off from the series The Apprentice,

  • which was in turn spawned from an American series of the same name, which stars the entrepreneur

  • Donald Trump. Sugar's role under Gordon Brown's government sparked a debate over the BBC's

  • political impartiality regulations in the run-up to the UK 2010 election, resulting

  • in both Junior Apprentice and the sixth regular edition of The Apprentice being delayed.

  • Other appearances In May 2008, Sugar made an appearance on An

  • Audience Without Jeremy Beadle to pay tribute to Jeremy Beadle as they were close friends

  • and both appeared on a celebrity special of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? in 2005.

  • In January 2009, Fiona Bruce presented a BBC Two documentary entitled The Real Sir Alan.

  • Also in 2009, Sugar appeared in television advertisements for investment bank NS&I and

  • The Learning and Skills Council talking about apprenticeships.

  • In May 2011, Sugar presented Lord Sugar Tackles Football, a documentary looking into the financial

  • woes of English football. In September 2012, Sugar appeared as himself

  • in a cameo in the Doctor Who episode "The Power of Three". Sugar's cameo was filmed

  • on the set of The Apprentice. In November 2012, Sugar appeared as himself

  • in a cameo in a special episode of EastEnders for Children in Need.

  • Honours and philanthropy Sugar was knighted as a Knight Bachelor in

  • the 2000 New Year Honours "for services to the Home Computer and Electronics Industry".

  • He holds two honorary Doctorates of Science, awarded in 1988 by City University and in

  • 2005 by Brunel University. He is a philanthropist for charities such as Jewish Care and Great

  • Ormond Street Hospital, and donated £200,000 to the British Labour Party in 2001. On 5

  • June 2009 it was reported that Sugar had been offered a peerage by Prime Minister Gordon

  • Brown as part of a new enterprise role in his government, and he was subsequently created

  • a life peer as Baron Sugar, of Clapton in the London Borough of Hackney on 20 July 2009.

  • Controversy Sex discrimination law

  • Sugar has been accused of having an "outdated" attitude towards women. Regarding the 1970s

  • UK law which states that it is discriminatory and hence illegal for women to be asked at

  • interview whether they plan to have children, Sugar is quoted as saying, "These laws are

  • counter-productive for women, that's the bottom line. You're not allowed to ask, so it's easy

  • just don't employ them. It will get harder to get a job as a woman."

  • Bullying Critics have described Sugar as "out-of-touch"

  • and his work ethic as "a model of bad management in the UK. Negative, bullying and narrow-minded...

  • rules by fear, with an iron fist not dissimilar to the political style of Joseph Stalin" Concerns

  • have been raised by anti-bullying charity Kidscape that "publicly humiliating" contestants

  • on The Apprentice may give bullying credibility. Technology