Thursday 23 January 2020

Shocked Apprentice Michelle is first to be told: You're Fired!

Lord Alan Sugar says he would stick with the BBC if The Apprentice moved channels.
Lord Alan Sugar says he would stick with the BBC if The Apprentice moved channels.

Michelle Niziol has "no regrets" over the decisions she made as project manager after becoming the first candidate to be told "you're fired!" from The Apprentice.

The property business owner was fired by Lord Sugar for failing to lead the girls, named Team Nebular, to victory in the first episode of the new series due to an apparent lack of pricing strategy in a selling task.

The 18 new hopefuls were challenged by Lord Sugar and his aides Karren Brady and Claude Littner to shift collectable antique items, and were advised to pick the "diamonds from pieces of old toot" to maximise sales.

Team Nebular made a total of £959 from their efforts selling to the public and trade, while the boys' Team Titan soared ahead with total sales of £1,428.10.

In the boardroom, Lord Sugar told the losing team: "It appears to me that I was talking to a brick wall.

"I thought I made it perfectly clear. The important thing about this is to identify what you have there and to establish some kind of pricing policy, in order to know what you can go and sell it for.

"According to Claude, you just made it up as you went along"

Niziol, 35, told the Press Association that she did have a pricing strategy in place, but that the market-selling sub-team got "carried away" by "fire-selling".

She said: "I was clear with the pricing strategy which I don't think comes across. But Alana (Spencer), her background is market trading and Frances (Bishop) owns a children's clothing shop, so b etween the two of them, we had a strong team of girls that understood pricing.

She added: "I had been clear that the pricing strategy was left to the market team to set themselves."

The episode saw Team Nebular flail as they failed to keep track of a van full of their antique goods, while Niziol went against the advice of the expert to head to London's Camden to sell instead of Portobello Market.

Another low moment came when Natalie Hughes sold two vintage vases valued at £300 for just £15.

Niziol confessed to being "absolutely shocked" to be the first person to leave after facing the boardroom with Spencer and d esign and marketing agency owner Rebecca Jeffery, who only made £25 during the task.

Niziol, who owns three businesses, said: "E ven in the boardroom I thought Rebecca was going home. I just felt I was a better candidate than her."

Lord Sugar appeared undecided over who to get rid of first, saying that Jeffery had "demonstrated nothing in this particular task" and that Spencer "overlooked" the pricing.

He concluded that it was "very easy" for him to point the finger at Niziol as project manager, and that she was responsible for "a lot of stuff" before firing her.

Team Titan were led to victory by project manager and occasional Bargain Hunt fan Paul Sullivan, a marketing agency owner, although technology senior sales executive Sofiane Khelfa was responsible for some of the bigger sales.

The Apprentice continues next Thursday at 9pm on BBC One.

PA Media

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