B1 Intermediate UK 2175 Folder Collection
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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 initials – Alan 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], followed by the [email protected] 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 notably Jürgen 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
In February 2005, Sugar incorrectly predicted that the iPod would be "dead, finished, gone,
kaput" by the following Christmas. The comment topped the poll by T3 on the ten worst technology
predictions ever. Tweets
In January 2012, on the second day of the trial of Lord Taylor of Warwick for false
accounting, Sugar was ordered by Mr Justice Saunders, sitting in the Crown Court at Southwark,
to remove a tweet which the court ruled could prejudice the trial. He was also referred
to Her Majesty's Attorney General in relation to a possible contempt of court. However,
no action was taken against him. On 6 October 2013, Lord Sugar was investigated
by police after a complaint was made that one of his tweets was racist. The message
contained a photo of a child apparently of Chinese origin crying, along with the caption,
"The kid in the middle is upset because he was told off for leaving the production line
of the iPhone 5." The police took no action against him.
See also What You See is What You Get: My Autobiography,
Sugar's autobiography References
Further reading David Thomas, "Alan Sugar – the Amstrad
Story", paperback ISBN 978-0-330-31900-3. Alan Sugar, "The Apprentice: How to get hired
not fired" Alan Sugar, "What You See Is What You Get:
My Autobiography", hardback ISBN 978-0-230-74933-7. External links
Alan Sugar at the Internet Movie Database Amstrad website
Amsair website Amscreen website
BBC's The Apprentice
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Alan Sugar

2175 Folder Collection
kathy published on July 24, 2015
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