Could The Apprentice survive without Lord Sugar?

Adrian Chiles, Richard Edgar and Michelle Mone have their say on who, if anyone, could take up the role of hirer and firer

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Lord Sugar and The Apprentice, The Apprentice and Lord Sugar… it’s hard to imagine one without the other, right?


But, if Lord Sugar was to leave (and we say that with the hope he doesn’t) who could replace him?

Who has the right firing finger pointing for the job? Three experts have their say…

The Insider: Adrian Chiles

Could anybody take over from Lord Sugar? No, is the short answer. If you gave me a list of possible candidates, it would be a very short one. I can’t think of anyone.

Alan’s like all good bosses. You fear him a little bit. He can behave unreasonably a little bit, but basically you want to walk through walls to get to him. That’s what a boss should be: like Sir Alex Ferguson.

One of the reasons The Apprentice works is because it has a certain authenticity about it that comes from Alan’s passion.

It’s not just some television gig that he can take or leave. He doesn’t make any money from it. I can’t think of anyone in business who’s made such a big impression. In my lifetime, there’s been Alan and John Harvey Jones, and that’s it.

Nothing lasts forever. And if Aland did decide to lay down his tools after ten years, that might be appropriate. But he should walk away, like Sir Alex, having won the championship.

Adrian Chiles presented The Apprentice: You’re Fired from 2006 to 2009

The Business Expert: Richard Edgar

I’m sure The Apprentice can carry on without Lord Sugar, but my question is whether it should. I really think the format has been explored as far as it can be. It’s not really about business; it’s more about management.

There have been a lot of comments about Lord Sugar’s idiosyncratic style of management. As much as I respect him, I’d probably find him quite hard to work for.

If you’re a young person entering the world of work, what The Apprentice does show is that you have to deliver and there are no excuses.

What is also realistic is that the candidates are given a task to complete in a ridiculously short amount of time, something that often happens in the real world.

Lord Sugar is chairman of Amshold Group, not an executive of day-to-day decisions. Other people at his level often find other roles for themselves. Maybe The Apprentice fulfils that role for him.

Or maybe it’s done the job that he wanted to do, promoting the entrepreneurship to young people. Time will tell.

Richard Edgar is economics editor at ITV news.

The Entrepreneur: Michelle Mone

I think Alan is very, very good on The Apprentice, but sometimes change is a good thing and it can keep things fresh and alive.

The Apprentice is a success the world over, it’s not just in the UK; you’ve got Donald Trump in America, and other entrepreneurs in other countries. So I don’t think it would need resting if Alan left. You don’t want a show to die when it’s still healthy.

As long as he is replaced by a successful entrepreneur and somebody with “get up and go”, then it will work.

Would I consider throwing my hat in the ring? It’s a show that I’ve always loved, and I suppose it would be great for a woman to do it!

It’s been very positive to bring business to the limelight. The Apprentice has made business sexy. When I grew up, nobody knew what an entrepreneur was. Lord Sugar has made sure people know what that means now.

Where kids used to want to be an actor or a footballer, some of them now want to be an entrepreneur. Long may it continue.

Michelle Mone is founder of international underwear brand Ultimo


The Apprentice two hour final is on tonight, 8pm, BBC1