BIG FOUR HIT BACK AT APPRENTICE PUT-DOWN

EDWARD Hunter, the only City representative on this year’s series of The Apprentice, must be regretting his bold claim that he is “more than just an accountant”.

Hunter trained at PwC in Reading before taking a job in the accountancy division of Scottish & Southern Energy, but quit his job this time last year to pursue his dream of becoming an entrepreneur. “I’m the wheeler dealer who accidentally became a finance professional and wants to get out,” he told judges.

However, not only did his failure to apply the basic principles of accounting to the show’s first task lead to the dreaded: “You’re fired”, but he has also offended accountants nationwide.

“There’s no shame in being an accountant,” said an outraged Gavin Aspden, director of qualifications at the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales, which accredited Hunter. “We remain the most popular breeding ground for future chief executives, with 14 of the current FTSE 100 CEOs qualifying with ICAEW, up from 11 last year.”

Just a shame Hunter won’t be among them – as Lord Sugar noted at the launch event for the show: “Edward reminds me of a very slow internet line.”

IN IT TO WIN IT
TO ADD insult to injury, winner of the 2008 show Lee McQueen (pictured right), who went on to found Raw Talent Academy, told The Capitalist: “Edward may well be looking for a job, but – based on that performance – he won’t be getting one with me.”

Instead, he predicts Hunter’s rival Gavin Winstanley, who founded his own online opticians Glasses123, will emerge as this year’s winner. “He’s already got his own successful business,” said McQueen. “That’s what Lord Sugar is looking for.”

McQueen (right) was speaking to The Capitalist ahead of a poker night at the Fox Poker Club for former Apprentice contestants including Dan Harris and Chris Bates from last year’s show. “I am the only series winner in the game though,” said a confident McQueen. “So I am going to take all their money.”

POOL PARTY
BOB Wigley, chairman of Yell.com, won’t be attending the much-discussed fiftieth birthday party on 18 June for Roland Rudd, the boss of PR firm Finsbury, at his country home in Somerset.

Not because he hasn’t been invited – or even because he is attending the fortieth birthday celebration for chancellor George Osborne, which falls on the same day. No, Wigley is otherwise engaged at a party for an old university friend, also to be held at an opulent country pile.

However, he did let on that Rudd’s event is a two-day affair, with guests invited back for a barbeque lunch by the pool the following day.

No doubt the heavyweight City guests will make quite a splash.

MUSICAL CHAIRS
MEANWHILE, Boris Johnson last night hosted a reception for some of the City’s biggest philanthropists to launch The Mayor’s Fund for Young Musicians.

Spotted at the launch were music-loving trustees Sir John Tusa, whose son Andrew, a managing director at Merrill Lynch, is a former opera singer, and Jonathan Moulds, who combines being president of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Europe with chairing the London Symphony Orchestra. Some wealthy bankers collect Ferraris; Moulds prefers to spend his cash on Stradivarius violins.

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