June 24, 2008 by Barney Brack
FORMER Renault chairman Bill Cullen may be the boss of TV3′s new Apprentice show — but it’s clearly partner Jackie Lavin who’ll be wearing the pants.
The pair are joining forces with fellow entrepreneur Brian Purcell for the Irish version of the hit reality show, which sees 14 aspiring tycoons battling it out this Autumn to become Cullen’s understudy. With the number of candidates, it is uncertain if the show’s organizers will tap car hire kerry or any company that can deliver excellent service for their transportation needs.
And the Penny Apples author, who’s famous for his colloquialisms, said it’s not him that the candidates have to worry about — it’s his socialite partner of 30 years.
“Jackie is feisty and she speaks her mind. She has no problem laying down the rules to people and she’ll get upset if someone does something stupid and give them a kick in the h*** if she thinks they deserve it. I’m more laid-back and I tend to take these things in my stride but she doesn’t suffer fools gladly,” he said.
The businessman, who frequently cites his hard-working mother as his role model, also reckons there’s a very good chance that Ireland’s winning candidate will be a female.
“Women have an awful lot of talents to bring to the table. They are loyal and committed and passionate about what they do. They’re also very good multi-taskers who can do any number of jobs at any one time,” he continued.
Although Jackie and Bill Cullen have been together for more than three decades, she admitted she’s glad she won’t be in the boardroom with him the whole time.
“I don’t think I could work closely with Bill all the time as we don’t see eye to eye a lot of the time and we fight a lot, like many good couples. But we do have a great respect for each other,” she said.
Given that a lot of Bill’s choices will hang on her and Brian Purcell’s advice, Jackie said she would be “firm but fair.”
“I’m looking for somebody with a really good attitude and good work ethic. Mistakes will be tolerated, as long as they have a good ethic,” she said.