June 25, 2008 by Barney Brack
Recruitment sales manager Lee McQueen, became Sir Alan Sugar’s fourth Apprentice in June 2008 – despite having been caught lying on his CV earlier in the series.
McQueen, from Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, said he had to take “a deep breath” when the tycoon told him “you’re hired” in the hit BBC show.
The 30-year-old beat three other hopefuls to land a £100,000 job alongside Sir Alan.
He said he would buy his girlfriend new shoes with his first pay cheque.
McQueen will begin work as Sir Alan’s new apprentice on 1 July 2008.
As well as planning to lease a new Porsche, he also said he wanted to help his mother get central heating in her flat.
“It’s a terrible moment when you’ve got two great people and I have to make my mind up,” said Sir Alan, who chose McQueen over runner-up and favourite Claire Young.
He called McQueen “a team player”, adding that “he always seemed to give his all”.
“He delivered every single time I asked him to do something,” the Amstrad founder said.
In the final episode of the series, McQueen was pitched against fellow hopefuls Young, Alex Wotherspoon and Helene Speight in a task to create a men’s fragrance.
But Wotherspoon and Speight’s efforts were not good enough for Sir Alan, who called McQueen and Young (a retail buyer nicknamed The Rottweiler) back for one final showdown.
Sir Alan told the pair: “Claire, you have some great attributes and Lee, you’re very convincing. You are very, very, very convincing. I’ve concluded… Lee, you’re hired.”
“When I heard those words ‘you’re hired’ it took a couple of seconds to sink in,” McQueen said.
He added: “I’m a big softie and when we learnt we were the final two it was very emotional.”
McQueen – who earned £78,000 last year – has been asked by Sir Alan to launch a digital advertising product which will come under one of the tycoon’s “portfolio of companies”.
He said he was “very ashamed” to have been caught lying on his CV in an episode when he was also hauled over the coals for his poor spelling.
“It lost me some of my integrity,” he said.
“I got a good grilling and I deserved it, and I learned from my mistake. It won’t happen again.”