‘I was selfish. I’ve failed. And I’ve struggled with my conscience’ Lord Sugar

‘You sit there,’ barks Alan Sugar, jabbing a finger at an empty chair. The bully boy of business is everything you’d expect, at first: gruff, aggressive and intimidating. He makes me sit at a boardroom table, but seats himself behind a massive desk, which seems to have been raised up so that he can look down on people. Sugar is a short man but a big character: on the wall behind his head are cartoons and photographs telling the story of his rise from East End entrepreneur and founder of Amstrad to his present fame as a television star and peer of the realm. He growls, ‘Let’s get started.’

I knew he’d be like this. Sugar set the tone in the first series of The Apprentice by declaring, ‘I don’t like bull****ters, schmoozers or a***-lickers.’The show is to business what Jaws is to fishing, with Sugar as the great white shark. He’s one of the scariest men alive, according to a recent poll. ‘What poll?’ he says quickly, mistaking the meaning for comic effect, if you can call it that. ‘I thought the Poles were all going home because they couldn’t get jobs.’ He smiles like a predator scenting blood. ‘If that’s how I am, it’s the way I am.’ Read the rest of our encounter here

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