His former opposite number in the US television version of The Apprentice is now ensconced in the White House but Sugar, 70, is still busy doing what he does best: making a fortune from London property and no doubt preparing another arsenal of withering put-downs for wannabe tycoons set to appear in the 13th series of his reality TV show later this year.
Sugar’s biggest property development to date was due for completion in March. Crosspoint in the heart of the City of London will have 41,500sq ft of top-of-the-range office space and another 8,100 sq ft of retail space. More property projects in the capital are in the pipeline – two buildings in Shoreditch and another in Clerkenwell have been bought for £64m in recent years – with the savvy, Chigwell-based tycoon expected to make another good return on these developments. He sold the Burberry fashion house’s flagship store on London’s Haymarket to Qatari investors for £65m just two years after he bought it for £31.5m and had earlier made £50m from turning around a Mayfair tower block in five years.
Yet to many people this son of a Hackney tailor remains best known for the Amstrad consumer electronics operation he founded in his early twenties. He made about £36m from the £125m sale of the company in 2007 and after chairing Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur from 1991 to 2001 he picked up at least £25m for his stake.
An inspirational business leader to many, he was appointed in 2016 as David Cameron’s enterprise tsar after serving in a similar role for Labour, during which time future prime minister Theresa May – then shadow equalities minister – took exception to what she called the peer’s “old-fashioned views on women in the workplace”. She is reportedly looking for a new candidate for this role. Sugar last year obliged the Daily Mail to pay him £20,000 damages for describing him as a “spiv” – and handed the cheque straight to Great Ormond Street Hospital.
His main property company, Amshold, showed reduced assets of £518.8m in 2015-16 – down £108.4m – but the drop was largely explained by a £181m dividend. His businesses are worth £1.05bn and there is at least £200m in cash and other interests.