The Apprentice adviser Nick Hewer told a Magen David Adom breakfast audience just how Lord Sugar, then relatively unknown as a TV personality, clinched the position as the boss on the hit BBC show.
Speaking at the Savoy Hotel to 120 people, Mr Hewer, who is to be the new host of Countdown, said he'd thought that bigger personalities, like Topshop owner Sir Philip Green, would be chosen for the British version of the US TV show.
Lord Sugar called his old friend Mr Hewer for a meeting at the Dorchester Hotel and told him the BBC had the rights to The Apprentice format. Mr Hewer recalled: "Lord Sugar said 'in two minutes' time, the producer will walk through that door and we have got to tell him I'm the bloke'."
Mr Hewer said The Apprentice star - having spent many years touring schools, talking to students about entrepreneurism - was enthused about putting his ideas about business across to millions of people. "He suggested we took the producers to his home in Marbella," Mr Hewer said. "He captivated them with his enthusiasm. They were already planning the tasks for the candidates before they left."
Mr Hewer described famous Jewish contestant Michael Sophocles as a "bright boy" but urged former candidates to "get a proper job" rather than setting themselves up as business consultants. The event raised £18,000 for Israel's emergency medical service.