Lord Alan Michael Sugar is a British business magnate and media personality, best known for hosting the long-running TV series, The Apprentice. But the 75-year-old hasn’t just made his name from presenting the show that seeks to find rising stars in the business industry. He has, in fact, had a glittering career both in business and politics.
So, who is Lord Sugar, how did he become famous, what does he do and how much is he worth? Allow us to reveal all.
Lord Sugar Quick Facts
Name: Lord Alan Michael Sugar
DoB: 24 March 1947
Occupation: Entrepreneur, author, politician
Relationship Status: Married
Spouse: Ann Simons, Lady Sugar – married 1968
Net Worth: $1.21 billion
Instagram: @lord_sugar – 176k followers
Who Is Lord Sugar?
Alan Michael Sugar was born in Hackney, East London on 24 March 1947 into a Jewish family. His grandparents on his maternal and paternal sides are from Russia and Poland, respectively. Alan Sugar grew up relatively poor, initially living in a council flat.
Clearly having a keen eye for business, Alan Sugar founded the company, Amstrad (Alan Michael Sugar Trading), in 1968 at the age of 21 using just $100 of savings. He is known to have sold radio aerials for cars from the back of a van for £50.
Amstrad started life as an exporter/importer of wholesale goods but within just a couple of years, it began to move into manufacturing, predominantly within electronics. Amstrad was listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1980 and doubled both its profits and value every year. Amstrad launched its first computer in 1984 against intense competition from household names such as Sinclair and Commodore. Despite this competition, Amstrad sold 3 million units of the CPC 464 within its eight years of life.
Amstrad experienced incredible growth and sales in the 1980s, but in the 1990s, the company lost its reputation due to a series of unreliable hard disks (which were supplied by Seagate). Seagate did eventually pay Amstrad $131 million for lost revenue.
Following a series of telecommunications devices that didn’t sell well, Amstrad was sold to BSkyB for £125 million in 2007. Alan Sugar stepped down as Chairman of Amstrad in 2008.
Most people will know Lord Sugar as the host of The Apprentice, which was first broadcast on the BBC in the United Kingdom in 2005. The Apprentice follows a group of budding British entrepreneurs who compete in weekly challenges to eventually win the competition. Each week, Lord Sugar fires one apprentice until there is an eventual winner.
From 2005 until 2010, the winner would gain employment in one of Lord Sugar’s businesses. Since 2011, the winner receives a partnership with Sugar, along with a £250,000 investment into their own business.
Lord Sugar took over as the host of The Celebrity Apprentice Australia in 2020, which is broadcast on the Nine Network in Australia.
You’ve hopefully already picked up on the fact we’ve been referring to Alan Sugar as Lord Sugar, and that is because of his involvement with British politics. In July 2009 Alan Sugar was made Baron Sugar, of Clapham, in the London Borough of Hackney. This saw him gain entry into the House of Lords, which is the upper house of the Houses of Parliament in the UK.
The House of Lords essentially refer bills passed by the House of Commons (where the Prime Minister and opposing government parties debate) before they are made legally binding. Lord Sugar is the UK Governmen’s “Enterprise Champion,” which sees him promote entrepreneurship and advise the Department for Business, Innovation and Skill. Lord Sugar says this title is non-political in nature, meaning that he hasn’t joined the government.
He was, however, a member of the Labour party from 1997 until 2005, and was also one of its largest financial donors. He left the party in 2015 following the general election, which was won by David Cameron’s Conservative party.
He appeared to switch allegiance in 2019, endorsing both Boris Johnson to become the new leader of the Conservative party, as well as the Conservative party as a whole in the 2019 general election.
Alan Sugar has always had a keen interest in football in the UK and in 1991, along with former British footballer and manager, Terry Venables, bought Tottenham Hotspur, much to the displeasure of Tottenham fans. He supported Sky’s bid to have television rights to the English Premier League, in contrast to the owners of the other big English clubs: Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Everton, who voted in favour of ITV’s bid.
It has often been claimed by both fans and players of Tottenham that Alan Sugar has only ever been interested in the business side of football, as opposed to being a genuine fan of the club and the game.
Alan Sugar sold a 27% stake in Tottenham Hotspur FC in February 2001 for £22 million and his final 12% stake for £25 million in 2007. Sugar claims his time as the majority owner of Tottenham Hotspur as being a “waste of my life.”
Lord Sugar Net Worth
Thanks to his lengthy business career, Lord Alan Sugar has built up a considerable fortune. However, according to The Sunday Times Rich List, a vast proportion of his earnings in recent years have come from property.
Lord Sugar’s net worth in 2022 is an estimated £1.088bn, making him the 166th richest person in the UK. He is claimed to have sold just over £200 million worth of property between June 2020 – June 2021, which is more than he would have earned from both his business interests and fee for appearing on The Apprentice.
Lord Sugar Family
Alan Sugar married his wife, Ann Simons, a former hairdresser on 28 April 1968 at Great Portland Street, London. They currently live in Chigwell, Essex, and have three children: two sons and one daughter. His sons, Daniel Paul Sugar and Simon Sugar are heavily involved with his businesses.