Stella English has been ‘Fired’. She won The Apprentice in front of 10 million viewers in December 2010, has not only been let go by millionaire tycoon and television personality Lord Alan Sugar, but also faces financial worries.
Less than ten months after being officially crowned the Apprentice, Stella, 32, has been told by Lord Sugar that she would be out of a job by Christmas. After hearing the news, Stella handed in her resignation at her job as a commercial manager at set-top box firm YouView.
Stella told the Sunday Mirror: “I’m gutted. This was my dream and I had worked so hard for it… suddenly it’s all over.”
Stella quit her £85,000 a year job as a banker in the City to compete in the Apprentice. She said, “I didn’t see The Apprentice as a way out of banking, I saw it as a way into the commercial world.”
The show finished filming in November 2009, and Stella reportedly assumed that the winner would be announced within six months. As a result of Lord Sugar’s role as a Labour peer, however, there were concerns about him appearing on TV during the 2010 General Election campaign and so the results were delayed for ten months.
Despite being paid by TV company Talkback Thames, Stella struggled to afford it, telling the Mirror, “The money was just enough to cover the mortgage but I couldn’t pay the arrears, couldn’t pay the bills, I got myself in a mess.”
She relocated to be closer to Lord Sugar’s IT firm Viglen – where she began her employment with the tycoon – but ended up handing in her resignation in May of this year. The Mirror reports that the final straw was when she felt she was being sidelined on the schools projects she had expected to lead.
Lord Sugar then offered her a role in his set-top box firm YouView, where he is part-time non-executive chairman. She began the job of commercial manager in June, but was told on September 28 by Lord Sugar: “Your contract’s up at the end of December and I don’t know what to do with you after that because that’s it, so you might think about what you want to do,” the Mirror reports.
Stella stated, “What I took offence at was feeling my new job was just PR for the show. That was the nail in the coffin…every last bit of loyalty just went.” YouView confirmed that they could not give her a job. Stella added, “To be told I don’t have a job and realising I don’t know how I will support the kids at Christmas is tough.”
A source said that Stella “constantly complained” about being in debt despite her £100,000 salary. According to this same source, the Mirror has revealed, Lord Sugar and staff at Viglen felt she was “not as good as she thinks”.