After leaving school in Hackney aged 16, Sugar started selling car aerials and electric goods out of a van he bought for £100. In 1968, he founded Amstrad, and now, over 40 years later, he has an estimated worth of £830 million, and was ranked 84th in the 2007 Sunday Times Rich List.
He became Chairman of Tottenham Hotspur FC in 1991, and up until last year he was their biggest single shareholder. In July 2007, Sugar sold his Amstrad empire to Sky. Sugar's other companies include AMSAIR, which offers business and executive jets to a number of high profile clients around the world, AMSPROP, a property investment firm and VIGLEN, a manufacturer specialising in computers, networks and solutions.
In 2000, Sugar was knighted for his services to business and he holds two honorary Doctorates of Science degrees, awarded by City University and Brunel University respectively.
He is a philanthropist for a number of charities including Great Ormond Street Hospital and Jewish Care. He has now been recruited to the government's Business Council for Britain where he is an advisor to Gordon Brown on issues affecting enterprise, business and the long term productivity and competitiveness of the economy. He is currently working with the Rt Hon Ed Balls MP, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families and the Rt Hon John Denham MP, Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills to front a campaign promoting the benefits of apprenticeships.
Margaret Mountford has spent over 20 years working with Sir Alan Sugar and is his most trusted adviser.
Born and brought up in Holywood, Northern Ireland, she says her background aided her career progression, because ‘coming from Northern Ireland gives you a lot of basic level-headedness and stands you in very good stead’.
Margaret was educated at Girton College, Cambridge, before becoming a solicitor in private practice. She was a partner at Herbert Smith, a top-tier legal firm; it was at this time she met Sir Alan Sugar while she was doing legal work for Amstrad's flotation on the Stock Exchange.
After retiring in 1999, Margaret took up her current role on the Amstrad board as a non-executive Director. Although never officially employed by Sir Alan, they have worked together on projects for over 20 years.
Margaret Mountford is currently working part time toward a Ph.D in Papyrology, the study of ancient manuscripts.
Former PR impresario Nick Hewer started off in public relations in the mid 1960s.
Heading up his own PR company until its sale in 1998, Nick built an impressive client list which, for over 20 years, included the secretariat of His Highness the Aga Khan, based in Chantilly, France.
Nick first came across Sir Alan when his PR company was chosen to represent Amstrad back in 1983. Soon taking care of Sir Alan's profile across all business and personal dealings, Nick became a trusted ally and firm friend to the tycoon, playing an integral part in the management structure at Amstrad.
Friends throughout both careers, Sir Alan laid on a dinner at The Dorchester for Nick and 100 guests to celebrate his official retirement. Says Nick: ‘Sir Alan is a very generous friend. The best thing about working for him was there was always something going on - he has vibrancy about him’.
Nick's career has taken him all over the world; in his retirement he still pursues his life long passion of world travel. He has a home in France where he indulges his other passion, for tractors.
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