Sir Alan Sugar becomes new Enterprise Czar in reshuffle

Is Sir Alan Sugar’s appointment as Enterprise Tsar in Gordon Brown’s reshuffle today a desperate mistake or an inspired move?

By News Desk
5th June 2009 at 9:52

Sir Alan Sugar appointment as Enterprise CzarJust a few days before business boss Sir Alan Sugar graces our screens for the final of The Apprentice and he’s all over the media again as Britain’s (first?) Enterprise Czar. But is he really the right man for the job?

According to reports from the BBC, Sir Alan has been called on by Gordon Brown to help support the government’s efforts to encourage enterprise during these difficult economic times.

The BBC quotes the Prime Minister as saying:

I can not think of a better person to be in place

And Sir Alan appears to be backing Mr Brown too. What exactly the former Amstrad boss and Spurs chairman will do is another matter, although more will be revealed as events unfold.

But already the appointment has been met by a certain amount of ridicule on Twitter and elsewhere.

There is definitely a sense that people don’t take Sir Alan that seriously. That he’s a caricature of an entrepreneur and businessman and that as a result his appointment is a bit of a joke. A sign of desperation, rather than astute thinking.

Here at SmallBizPod we think Sir Alan gets a bad rap. His style as the BBC is always keen to point out is ‘abrasive’, but at least he’s not playing the fool all the time like Richard Branson does so often to secure that extra ounce of PR.

Whether The Apprentice has done his reputation some harm or not, Sir Alan remains one of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs and he did it without the silver spoon of someone like Branson.

His appointment may be an exercise in cynical populism, but we believe Sir Alan himself should be celebrated, not sneered at.

[Update: It’s now transpired that Sir Alan has been made a Lord. As you’d expect he clearly drives a hard bargain. Politically though this seems like a suicidal mistake. Now is not the time for a Labour Party to be granting favours to millionaires.]

[Picture credit: demo1977 licenced from Flickr]

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  1. Not a bad choice from the PR angle, but does Sir Alan not represent business management more than entrepreneurship?

  2. News Desk says:

    Not at all, Sir Alan has built his business empire from scratch.

    Even though his businesses are well established, I’m sure he promote an entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial attitude.

    Look at The Apprentice. It’s the entrepreneurial candidates who invariable do best, rather than the managerial, in Sir Alan’s eyes.

  3. Annette Naudin says:

    This is not a good appointment. Of course it is all about PR but is Sir Alan (soon to be Lord???) the image of enterprise we want? How about a woman instead: Martha Lane Fox? Karen Millen? Penny Streeter? Jane Cavanagh?

  4. Agreed, Alan has gone from barrow boy to boardroom.

    However, other than Yasmina the only other real entrepreneur in the bunch was poor old Rocky who was sidelined very early on.

    I have not met an entrepreneur to date that would like to be Sir Alans’ apprentice…i,e an employee

  5. News Desk says:

    Not sure about that: Michelle Dewberry and Tim Campbell won, gained experience and insight, and then set off on their own entrepreneurial journey. Lots of entrepreneurs have also been employees.

  6. News Desk says:

    Annette, that would certainly be refreshing. The peerage reeks of old boys club.

  7. With the Apprentice most candidates are looking to take away his passed on knowledge, guidance and experience in order to be more of a success and have a nice 6 figure salary whilst being taught…quite a good trainee wage!
    With Gordon Browns decision of making Sir Alan Enterprize Czar, the unfortunate thing with Entrepreneurs is that they don’t always get it right he is only human afterall! Like most people that have made millions, they have had to take large risks and lots of finance – not good when the banks won’t give any money out at the moment!
    The funding seems to have dried up for a lot of development and I speak to so many companies that aren’t even aware of the funding and help through Business Link (one of many) they could be entitled to…there needs more activity to raise awareness with the enterprise schemes

  8. Mark Hook says:

    I like the move.

    Sure Sir Al, (sorry Lord Sugar!) is a TV personality but, as mentioned above he’s the embodiment of ‘Barrow boy done good’. I think he will be a success in encouraging enterprise.

    If not, you can always give the job to Nick and Margaret!

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