Lord Alan Sugar has become a British institution thanks to The Apprentice.
His reputation as a businessman and entrepreneur goes before him, and candidates often quake in their boots when they face him in the boardroom.
But how did 74-year-old Lord Sugar get his reputation as a fierce and ruthless businessman?
And much is he actually worth?
How did Lord Alan Sugar make his money?
Born in 1947 in the east end of London, Lord Sugar’s is a rags-to-riches story.
Growing up in a council flat, he sold electrical goods out the back of a van he bought for £50. A proper Del Boy!
At aged 21, he started his first business in 1968 – Amstrad.
Initially, selling hi-fi turntable covers, car stereos and aerials, Amstrad really took off in 1984 when it started selling its first computers.
And, by 1986, the company’s net worth was £1.2billion. Eventually, BskyB bought the company for £125million in 2007.
However, that’s not the end of Lord Sugar’s business interests.
He started property business Amsprop in 1985, selling commercial space in cities like London.
In fact it could be his most profitable business – it’s claimed that its current net worth is £800million.
And that’s not all. Lord Sugar also owns an advertising company called Amscreen, a jet charter business called Amsair and an IT firm called Viglen.
Earlier this year, The Express reported that Lord Sugar earns £1million per day.
Not bad for someone who grew up in a council flat. Lord Sugar has come a long way!
What is Lord Sugar’s attitude to business?
In an interview with This Is Money, he said: “You’ve got to be happy, it’s not just about making money and all that stuff. There should be no drudgery in work.
“You have to enjoy what you’re doing, and if you don’t, you’d better get out and do something else because you’re not going to be a success.”
What is Lord Alan Sugar’s net worth?
By the time he was 40, Lord Sugar was the 15th richest person in the country and worth around £600million.
But he continued to grow, and according to the Times Richlist in 2015, Lord Sugar became a billionaire that year.
The list ranked him as the 121st richest person in the UK.
However, in the same list from 2021, Lord Sugar had slipped to the 138th richest person in the UK.
Listing ‘property’ as his source of wealth, the list says that Lord Sugar is currently worth £1.2billion.
And despite earning £10million less than the year before, he’s still one of the country’s richest people.
For context, investment, music and media mogul Sir Leonard Blavatnik is at the top of the list, and worth a cool £23billion.
When did he become a Lord?
In 2009, then Prime Minister Gordon Brown surprised many by giving Sir Alan Sugar a peerage and making him Lord Alan Sugar.
In order to avoid any conflicts of interest, he stepped down from all of his company directorships.
However, he didn’t become a minister – only an advisor. He was to become the ‘Enterprise Champion’ or ‘Enterprise Tsar’.
At the time of his appointment, he said in a statement: “I’m delighted to be taking on this challenge.
“I built successful businesses with the support of hundreds of talented young people who learned their skills on the job – exactly the kinds of skills you learn in an apprenticeship.
“But not enough of our young people know about apprenticeships and what they offer, and too few feel empowered to set up their own business.
“I’ll be travelling the length and breadth of this country to tell young people why apprenticeships are a great way for them to build their skills – and talking about the opportunities for starting their own business, hopefully instilling some entrepreneurial spirit.”
After Mr Brown was ousted, successors David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson all kept him on in the role.
And Lord Sugar still reports to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
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