Sir Alan Sugar’s right hand woman wants to finish her PhD

Margaret Mountford is leaving The Apprentice.

The corporate lawyer, 56, has acted as Sir Alan Sugar’s eyes and ears on the BBC show since its launch in 2005.

But now Margaret is stepping down to concentrate on her PhD in papyrology.

‘I have really enjoyed making the series and it will be a real wrench to say goodbye’ she writes in The Daily Telegraph.

‘But making The Apprentice takes up a large chunk of time each year, and that’s time I could, indeed should, be spending on my studies.

‘I have not made nearly as much progress as I would like over the last few years – and I want to finish my degree before I need a Zimmer frame to get up on the platform to receive it.’

Sir Alan
, who hired Yasmina Siadatan, 27, last night, has paid tribute to Margaret.

‘Five years ago she agreed to put her studies on hold for the first series,’ he says.

‘None of us expected the show to be such a big hit, but now, five years later, she really wants to finish her Masters.

‘We will miss her, but I respect her wishes and want to take this opportunity to thank her for the great contribution she has made to the series.’

SEE PICTURES The Apprentice 2009 – contestants revealed>>

SEE PICTURES The Apprentice: Where are they now?>>

SEE VIDEO Sir Alan Sugar hires Yasmina Siadatan…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsSQkKFfVss&hl=en&fs=1