Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

Executive denies 'no job' comment

Stella English is suing Lord Sugar for constructive dismissal

A senior executive at one of millionaire businessman Lord Sugar's companies denied telling former winner of The Apprentice Stella English that there was no job for her.

Lord Sugar is being sued for constructive dismissal by Stella, 34, who won series six of the BBC One show in 2010.

Stella was given a £100,000 role with Lord Sugar's IT division Viglen but resigned in May 2011 and complained that her role there was that of an "overpaid lackey", something her former boss strongly denied.

Viglen chief executive Bordan Tkachuk, who also carries out the high-pressure interviews of the finalists in the closing stages of the television series, told the East London Tribunal Service: "I do not understand why I would say 'there is no job' because obviously there is a potential job for one of the two candidates. I did not say there was no role. For the five previous contestants there was a job for them."

Mr Tkachuk also denied that Lord Sugar made the comment "Nice girl. Don't do a lot" about Stella when he asked what he thought of her during a meeting between them. He told the tribunal: "I don't remember him saying that but the inference might have been that." He recalled that she was "a nice girl but probably had a lot to learn".

Mr Tkachuk denied that he had shown "bullying behaviour" towards Stella, of Whitstable, Kent, or that he did not get on with her saying "I had no problem at all with her."

He described her as "naive" about how procurement works.

Her resignation from Viglen caught him "a bit unawares and it was a bit of a surprise", he said. The reason behind it seemed to be that she did not like working in IT having come from a banking background, he suggested. He took her to lunch to discuss the situation away from the office as she was "clearly a little bit emotional about it," he stated. He called it an "amicable meeting".

Lord Sugar later gave her another role at internet set-top box company YouView after she resigned from Viglen in May 2011. Stella claims that Lord Sugar told her he would not be renewing her contract during an unscheduled meeting on September 28, 2011.

The hearing was adjourned until Tuesday.

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Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant

Virgo:

Be assertive about your needs. It's time to stop deferring to the pushier people in your crowd. You have an opportunity to land a good job, embark on a romance or showcase your talent. Don't hesitate to elbow your way past a rival. The person you want to impress will admire your strong stance. Turn a deaf ear to some disturbing gossip. The troublemaker who is spreading this story is just a jealous rival. Beware of tarnishing an innocent person's reputation.More