Dead? No, of course he's not dead. But Sir Alan Sugar has stepped down as chairman of his company Amstrad after 40 years. That means that all those wonderful jokes about the crappy-looking, pointlessly impractical email telephones he hawked so mercilessly during the first few seasons of The Apprentice are all worthless now. Really, he may as well be dead.
Anyway, even though he's left Amstrad, Sir Alan Sugar's still going to be the terrifying boss figure on The Apprentice. However, there's bound to be some changes – those taking part in next year's Apprentice will now be battling for a prestigious £100k a year job keeping watch for the rozzers while Sir Alan flogs boxes of unsold email phones from the back of a van in an MFI car park.
Listen to the intro to The Apprentice long enough and you'll believe that Sir Alan Sugar is a genius. A stone cold genius so unashamedly geniusy that everyone he works with happily puts up with his bellowed insults and belligerent manner because they understand that he knows more about business than anyone else alive.
Sir Alan Sugar even has the ear of the Prime Minister, we're told. He literally has it. He tore it off during a heated conference about proportionate enterprise regulation procedure. The Prime Minister doesn't even mind, because Sir Alan Sugar is that much of a business genius.
And as a business genius, Sir Alan Sugar knows that the recession is affecting two things more than anything else – rising fuel prices and tumbling property prices. Which is why he's chosen now to step down as chairman of his electronics company Amstrad to build up his, um, property and private jet businesses. Whoops.
That's right – Alan Sugar is no longer in charge of Amstrad, the company that's been his life for 40 years. The Times reports:
Sir Alan Sugar, the multi-millionaire star of The Apprentice TV series, has stepped down as chairman of Amstrad, the company he founded aged just 21. Sir Alan insists he is not retiring but that it was the “right time” for him to step down from his role at the company, which he sold to broadcaster BSkyB for £125 million last year.
You know what that means, don't you? it means all those ghoulish Amstrad animatronic Alan Sugar toys will be going cheap! They're the perfect Christmas present for anyone you want to curse into a lifetime of petrified insomnia thanks to the latex cockney robot sat in the corner of their room constantly bellowing insults at them.
Anyway, it doesn't matter that Alan Sugar has quit Amstrad, because he'll still be presenting The Apprentice and making appearances in all kinds of television commercials. However, let's just hope that his property and private jet interests hold up, because otherwise he'll have to change his catchphrase from "My fee from this ad is going to Great Ormond Street hospital" to "Up yours, sick kids – Daddy needs a hot tub."