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Sugar to head YouView

'Apprentice' host replaces Meek as chairman

The much-delayed U.K. connected-TV service YouView has tapped one of Blighty’s most high-profile business leaders to kick-start the company.

Alan Sugar, who founded the Amstrad electronics company now owned by BSkyB and hosts the local version of “The Apprentice,” takes over as YouView’s exec chairman with immediate effect.

He succeeds Kip Meek, who is ankling after only eight months in the role.

Backed by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and British Telecom, YouView was to roll out to consumers this summer. But problems with the technology and rumors of dissent between its owners have delayed the launch until early 2012. Meanwhile, rivals such as BSkyB and Virgin Media have been able to bow their own connected TV offerings. “It has been apparent for some time that the YouView board would benefit from additional expertise in consumer marketing and technology delivery,” Meek said. “Alan Sugar clearly supplies this.”Speaking on behalf of the initiative’s stockholders, Charles Dunstone, chairman of TalkTalk, said: “Alan Sugar’s experience in delivering set-top box technology to the consumer is unrivalled and we are delighted that he will be with us as we introduce a new, enhanced television experience to homes across the UK.”