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Apprentice Steve keeps revving up Bill's sales

APPRENTICE winner Steve Rayner has sold 250 cars in the year since he took up the post as Bill Cullen's protege.

The former business development manager is set to negotiate a new contract with Cullen, the Herald can reveal.

The hit TV3 show comes to an end on Monday night with what Bill's advisor Brian Purcell describes as "the closest final of the last three years".

Rayner's €100,000 contract will expire in January when either Michelle Massey or Niamh McDonald takes up a top job in one of Cullen's companies.

But Mr Purcell has confirmed that talks are to get underway shortly about extending Rayner's deal.

"Steve Rayner has been a massive success. He has sold over 250 cars for Bill. He has been phenomenal during the year," Mr Purcell told the Herald.

The original Apprentice winner, Brenda Shanahan, recently parted ways with the entrepreneur after nearly two years during which she worked at the Muckross House Hotel.

"Brenda took a job as a marketing director with a health firm in Cork. She had a good run and it was all very amicable," explained Mr Purcell.

But as for Steve, he said: "Him and Bill will sit down now to talk and I'm sure they'll work something out.

"Bill has gone on the record to say how happy he is with him so I imagine he'll be staying on. He took to car sales like a duck to water."

Speaking about Monday night's final show, Mr Purcell enthused: "Bill and Jackie genuinely didn't know who they were going to take until the last few seconds. It was that tight. It's unbelievable."


He has promised viewers that Michelle and Niamh will be put through the "most wide-ranging task" ever seen on The Apprentice.

Last week's programme saw Michelle stun the judges by admitting that she auditioned for Playboy television, while Niamh was branded "a bore".

Although Mr Purcell refused to be drawn on what exactly the final task involves, TV sources told the Herald today that it "really is the biggest marketing project ever seen on the show and involves lots of well known Irish brands".