Sugar’s sacked Apprentice lifts lid on life at Viglen
A winner of The Apprentice has described how she was treated as an “overpaid lackey” at Lord Sugar’s British computer firm, Viglen.
Stella English is suing the Amstrad mogul for constructive dismissal, after he declined to renew her contract. She told an employment tribunal that she had no real role at Viglen and was rebuked in front of colleagues by her boss Bordan Tkachuk, who has also appeared on the television show, according to a report in The Independent.
English, who won the BBC1 show in 2010, claims she was relegated to administrative tasks, despite earning a salary of £100,000 a year. “I was provided with a desk and a phone but that was pretty much it,” English told the tribunal, according to the newspaper. “The career-enhancing opportunities that The Apprentice position had been sold as simply failed to materialise.”
English told the tribunal that she was shocked to discover that Viglen only made an £800,000 profit on turnover of over £60 million, according to The Independent report. However, Viglen’s accounts show the company made only a £391,888 net profit on turnover of £67m in 2010, rising to £1.4m on turnover of £61m in 2011.
The Apprentice winner claimed that when she tried to raise the company’s financial position with Viglen CEO Tkachuk, and tell him that projects worth £1.4m had not been properly invoiced, he sent her a scathing reply that was copied into the rest of Viglen’s employees. “I don’t know what you’re doing but this ain’t how things work around here,” he reportedly told English in the email.
When English asked Sugar for a meeting to discuss her position, the former Amstrad boss asked Tkachuk for his opinion of her, to which he reportedly replied: “Nice girl. Don’t do a lot.”