Sir Alan Sugar to Step Back from Businesses
Sir Alan Sugar is to "step down" from the daily running of his businesses Amshold, his £270 million property portfolio company which will be run by Claude Littner who so infamously grilled the candidates in the interview episode of The Apprentice, and Viglen the computer company, which Sir Alan is chair of but has little direct involvement in.
On Friday Gordon Brown, in asurprise move, appointed Sir Alan Sugar as his "Enterprise Tsar".
By Sunday the Conservative party were condemning the move as "completely incompatible" with BBC rules despite Sir Alan’s talks with the BBC to ensure he was not in breach of the rules, meaning his role was as "an advisor" not "a policymaker".
Speaking to the BBC Jeremy Hunt, the shadow culture minister, said that Sir Alan needed to make a choice between his role in the hit TV show The Apprentice and his new position as "Enterprise Tsar".
Sir Alan had apparently made it "perfectly clear" to the Prime Minister that he would not allow his new appointment as business advisor to get in the way of his success with The Apprentice.
Today, according to the Telegraph, Sir Alan is to "to step down from any day-to-day involvement in his businesses" in an attempt to diffuse the ongoing row. This comes after Jeremy Hunt wrote to the BBC’s Director General, Mark Thomson, on Monday complaining further about the appointment of Sir Alan and whether the BBC would axe The Apprentice if the show clashed with the timing of a General Election next year.
In his letter Jeremy Hunt wrote;
"Sir Alan is a celebrity thanks to his funding from the licence fee. He is using the licence fee money to represent the Government’s message. I think his new role is completely incompatible with presenting The Apprentice."
A spokesman for Sir Alan said he would be handing over the day-to-day running of his businesses and a spokesperson for No. 10 added;
"As an adviser to the Government, arrangements are being put into place to ensure there are no conflicts of interest."
Jeremy Hunt has since said that this is "not enough" highlighting that it is Sir Alan’s TV role that conflicts with his advisory position and Hunt is not the only one to have complained. According to the Telegraph Brent Hobermann, the co-founder of the website Lastminute.com said, through twitter, that:
"Alan sugar as Enterprise Tsar is depressing… just don’t see him as a positive role model."
Charlie Mullins, the head of Pimlico Plumbers, was also very critical of the appointment of the new Enterprise Tsar, saying that it was
"…nothing short of window dressing…"
Sir Alan has been offered a peerage meaning that he will sit with Labour in the House of Lords. The Conservatives however would prefer it if the BBC pointed the finger at Sir Alan and said "You’re Fired!"