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Lords Sugar’s House of Lords speech. Women in business

Written by Gail Reynolds on March 9, 2011

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Lors sugar's House of Lords speech.

Women in business

Lord Sugar has said laws preventing a potential employer enquiring about a female interviewee's childcare arrangements are "counter-productive".The Amstrad founder, whose annual hunt for an apprentice is televised on BBC1, said women should be "bold and upfront" and declare their status regarding children - "and then focus on the most important thing: to explain what skills they can bring to the company and why they should be employed".

Without women talking clearly about their childcare or any intention to have children, interviews had become a "psychological charade".

The Labour peer was speaking in the House of Lords on Lord Davies' report on representation of women in boardrooms.

He told peers that expressing his views on the interview process could create "a bit of sensitivity".

"It tends to spark off a knee-jerk reaction amongst certain women who don't seem to hear - or want to hear - what I'm saying."

He added: "I for one would be very impressed with a person who settled this matter at the outset, telling me how they're going to organise their life in order to do their job; how important the job is to them and what they're going to bring to the party.

"Such people would jump up in my estimation."

Lord Sugar said he had had the "good fortune" to employ a number of women in senior roles.

"I have to say that I've found women in business to be very focused, determined and ambitious.

"Indeed in top management positions, they seem to place no importance on ego building, but simply get on with the job in a very efficient manner."

Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/business-news/alan-wont-sugarcoat-childcare-issue-for-women-in-boardroom-15103330.html#ixzz1G5he5Hgl

Can Lord Sugar steer the much-delayed YouView video-on-demand project to success?Lord Alan Sugar has been appointed non-executive chairman of long-delayed Internet TV project YouView with immediate effect, replacing former head Kip Meek.“It has been apparent for some time that the YouView board would benefit from additional expertise in consumer marketing and technology delivery. Lord Sugar supplies this,” said departing Meek, who had been in the job for less than eight months.

Formerly known as Project Canvas, YouViewis an Internet-connected television platform owned by four broadcasters – the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five -  along with communications companies  Arqiva, BT and Talk Talk.

The project was initially set to launch in 2010, as a hardware-assisted, more open successor to the BBC’s iPlayer video-on-demand application. However, it was pushed back to 2011 before getting postponed again until 2012.

YouView unlikely to be successful

Given these delays, media analysts have expressed concerns over YouView’s credibility and future success. It has also faced criticism from the Digital TV Group (DTG) – the industry body responsible for the technical development of UK digital terrestrial television.

Last year, DTG lodged a complaint with the BBC Trust, claiming the project had not taken the views of all the industry stakeholders into consideration, and would therefore be unable to produce an open, industry-wide technology standard which all members can work to.

Moreover, the chance for YouView to be successful will be very slim if it fails to launch before the Olympics, according to Ian Maude, head of Internet at Enders Analysis.

“The later YouView leaves it to launch, the market opportunity will shrink, with consumer demand being soaked up by other services and web TV applications,” said Maude.

Lord Sugar brings sweetness and light

However, with Lord Sugar at the helm, YouView’s backers seem to be more optimistic about the venture, which they believe will introduce “a new, enhanced television experience to homes across the UK”.

“Lord Sugar’s experience in delivering set top box technology to the consumer is unrivalled,” said Charles Dunstone, chairman of Talk Talk. Sugar’s Amstrad company, after its success with stereos and PCs, became a leader in satellite set-top boxes for Sky in the 1990s.

“As we move from the development to the delivery stage, I can’t think of anyone better placed to help bring YouView to market than Lord Sugar,” he added.

By connecting a YouView set-top box to TV aerial and broadband, viewers will be able to watch online content, such as BBC iPlayer or the ITV Player, on their TVs via a £200 set-top box connected to TV aerial and broadband Internet.

They will not have to pay any additional subscription for the content.

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