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Amazing row, watched by 100, as Sugar quits Desmond's YouView

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By Noel Young, Correspondent

March 1, 2013 | 3 min read

A furious boardroom row between Lord Sugar and media mogul Richard Desmond ended with the owner of Channel 5 shouting "You're fired!" at The Apprentice host in a row witnessed by the acting director general of the BBC.

Alan Sugar: I quit!

The confrontation, said the Guardian, "played out with more venom, anger and swearing than is ever seen in the boardroom on Sugar's hit BBC show" took place in front of astonished executives from leading broadcasters and telecoms companies on Thursday after a board meeting of the television company YouView.

According to one source, as the exchange became more heated Sugar advanced on Desmond with a clenched fist, said the Guardian

The row was apparently prompted by Sugar's announcement that he was quitting. YouView confirmed on Friday, reported b y the Drum earlier, that Sugar was stepping down from his role with the internet TV service, backed by Channel 5 and other broadcasters including the BBC, ITV and Channel 4.

The source close to Sugar added: "He told him 'I have finished with YouView' and the row increased and he ran away from Sugar because he was frightened, and then to play-act he shouted: 'You're fired.'"

A spokeswoman for Desmond declined to comment.

The row took place in the YouView boardroom, located at Desmond's Northern & Shell Thameside skyscraper, said the Guardian . The boardroom is surrounded by glass, which meant the bust-up was viewed by about 100 staff. The row involved "a lot of shouting and a lot of swear words", sources said.

One source said Desmond "went mad and shouted" when Sugar revealed he was resigning. "Desmond lost it, then Sugar definitely lost his temper and chased him around the floor."

Another source said the pair, who have known each other for 30 years, frequently clashed at YouView meetings

"They are like two barrowboys next to each other – 'What the fuck are you saying? You don't have a clue' – all that sort of thing."

Sugar was brought into YouView by Desmond two years ago and was paid £500,000 a year. He was credited with helping YouView get its house in order and "giving it some much-needed commercial clout," said the Guardian. It launched in September 2012.

Desmond's net worth is estimated at £1bn, Sugar's at £800m by the Sunday Times rich list.

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