Sixteen years after winning the original series of the BBC reality TV show, Tim Campbell MBE returns to The Apprentice boardroom as Lord Sugar’s right hand man.
When The Apprentice returns to BBC One in early 2022, Campbell will take the position held by Claude Littner – Lord Sugar’s right hand man since inception, who is taking time off to recuperate from major surgery.
The announcement offers a satisfying turn of events that will show Tim Campbell returning to sit on the other side of the famous boardroom table, which he hasn’t seen since becoming the original winner of the show.
Alongside Baroness Karren Brady, Tim will be scrutinising the candidates as they’re put through their paces in a series of testing tasks and compete to win a life-changing £250,000 investment for their business, in what remains the toughest interview process in town.
What has he been up to since then?
Tim Campbell MBE has let no grass grow under his feet since winning The Apprentice in 2005.
When he won what is arguably the most gruelling job interview process in UK business (all while broadcast on TV to boot!) Campbell landed a £100,000-a-year job with Lord Sugar’s firm Amstrad.
Back then, the company was going through a bit of an image crisis and didn’t have a particularly strong reputation among the crucial tech sector media. Deputy Editor of Gadget Magazine T3, Jason Jenkins, at the time described Amstrad’s email phone products as “pretty appalling”, adding: “The company lost its way some years ago as far as we’re concerned. I’m not sure what it’s going to do to impress customers.”
At the time, (then Sir) Alan’s personal PR was handled by Frank PR and its MD Alan Bloch explained how Campbell was positioned in the company’s broader public image after winning the series: “Tim … became health and beauty director at the company. We used his winner’s profile as media leverage to launch the Integra Facecare System. As the winner, Campbell attracted a broader range of media to the launch of this product than might have otherwise attended.”
Two years later, Campbell left Amstrad to found the Bright Ideas Trust – a charity that helps young people who haven’t had the same chances as the rest of society to start their own business. Supported by a range of corporate partners, the trust’s aim is to unlock the entrepreneurial talent in Britain’s young people, aged 16-30, by investing in their business ideas in return for an equity stake. Unlike other VCs, any return goes back to the trust to help other young start-ups.
Since January 2013, The Bright Ideas Trust has been a delivery partner of the government’s Start Up Loans Scheme – a programme that offers finance, mentoring and support to entrepreneurs. As of January 2015, Bright Ideas Trust has helped more than 150 start-ups secure funding worth up to £1.5m.
In addition to this, since 2013, Campbell has been working with Alexander Mann solutions, a talent acquisition and management services provider.
Tim Campbell received an MBE in 2012 and along with Darren Cag in 2016 co-founded the start-up Marketing Runners. The Twitter-based start-up provides specialist support for businesses wanting to improve their brand awareness and engagement through online media. Marketing Runners quickly established itself a frontrunner in digital marketing. Campbell explained: “Too often, entrepreneurs are positioned as alchemistic mythical people who are mavericks bordering on madness ignoring the vast differences between micro business owners and the modern-day business icons like Sir Richard Branson and Elizabeth Holmes.”
Campbell tends to keep a low profile on social media with regard to his private life but he is happily married and has spent much of lockdown continuing the conversation around the Black Lives Matter movement and its intersection with the world of business.
He has contributed to panels on the future of Corporate Leadership exploring what leaders can do to sustain the momentum for racial equity beyond this period and alleviate the burden for changemakers and allies.
Speaking about his return to The Apprentice, Tim Campbell said: “I’m excited to be looking after Claude’s boardroom chair while he recuperates and look forward to seeing what the candidates come up with on this year’s tasks. I was saddened by the circumstances which led to getting the call from Lord Sugar, but having been on the show myself, I know the hard work that goes into it – so I didn’t take the decision lightly.”
The Apprentice will return to BBC One in early 2022 and more details about the next series will be announced in due course.