Karren Brady, who has been Lord Sugar’s trusted aide on The Apprentice since 2009, has been dubbed ‘The First Lady of Football’ due to her success with West Ham United and Birmingham City
Karren Brady has been Lord Sugar’s eyes and ears for over a decade – but there’s a more important man in her life.
After Margaret Mountford stepped down from the role of the business tycoon’s trusted aide in 2009, Karren became his right hand woman, having previously appeared as a contestant on the 2007 Comic Relief Special and as an interviewer.
Often dubbed ‘The First Lady of Football’, Karren became the managing director of Birmingham City in 1993 at the age of just 23 and helped turned the club’s fortunes around on and off the pitch.
In 2010 she was appointed vice-chairman of West Ham United by chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan and was responsible for for negotiating their move from Upton Park to the Olympic Stadium.
Football has always been a very important part of Karren’s life – having married former Birmingham City striker Paul Peschisolido in 1995.
The couple met during the Canadian footballer’s two-year spell at the club when Karen was managing director, although there must have been some awkwardness when got got sold to another club.
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A bit of a journeyman, Peschisolido played for 10 differentiations teams in England, including Stoke City, Fulham, Sheffield United and Derby County.
After retiring in 2008, the Canadian international became manager of Burton Albion for three years and nearly signed Leicester hero Jamie Vardy during his spell in charge.
Karren gave birth to their first child, daughter Sophia, in 1996 and she returned to work just three days later.
This is something she later admitted she “regrets deeply” and in contrast took six weeks off after the birth of their son Paolo.
Sophia, 25, studied film and television at Nottingham University before getting a job at fashion company Arcadia, which owns Topshop and Topman.
While there she landed her debut modelling jobs and has appeared in a number of glamorous campaigns for the brand and built a significant social media profile.
The model and influencer, who has posed for a number of saucy snaps in skimpy underwear sets, has revealed that her mum approves of the scantily clad shots.
Speaking to her followers on Instagram during a Q&A, Sophia said: “She takes some of my pics for me (not all the time as she’s busy) and I send every pic I post to her beforehand to get her opinion on what to post.
“She’s very proud of me and she encourages me. she is the best. Blessed with the best parents!!”
In July last year, Karren opened opened up about her failed pleas to convince her children to have the coronavirus vaccine.
Writing in her column in The Sun , The Apprentice star revealed that her two young offspring “flatly refused” to consider take the vaccination – despite her best efforts to convince them otherwise.
“They believe under-30s will have blood clots if they take AstraZeneca or heart problems if they have the Pfizer, problems with fertility, periods and almost everything else they have read that might happen to 0.000001 per cent of people who have the vaccine,” she explained when discussing why her kids are sceptical.
“But that fear is based on rumour, not on reliable evidence,” Karren added, who has had the vaccine herself.
She then went on to explain how she has tried to present the positive arguments for the vaccine but to no avail.
“But even though I can trot out all the evidence, there is only so much a mother to two young adults can do to make them do something they don’t want to.”
During a routine medical check in 2006, doctors discovered Karren had a potentially fatal brain aneurysm.
Doctors told her that it was a miracle she had survived the births of her two children and had a 30% chance of dying from the condition at the time.
“I had a routine full-body scan as part of a health check and the following day I had a call from the company saying, ‘We are sorry to tell you that you have a brain aneurysm’,” recalled Brady.
“They wanted me in the next day to see a specialist so I thought maybe this is something really serious – and of course it was, and I had to have an operation.”
Doctors needed to act because an artery looked like it might rupture, so Karren underwent six hours of urgent neurosurgery to save her life.
Karren added: “There was a high chance I might not wake up from the surgery and I remember my nan saying, ‘You can’t die before your mother’.
“Really it was the complications of the surgery in terms of strokes and disability that was the worry.
“I had no obvious signs of illness and was perfectly OK on the outside and I didn’t want to worry people so I sent an email round the club stating: ‘I’m having brain surgery and I will see you in a few weeks’, and fortunately I did.”
Karren began her career working at advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi after being rejected for a journalism course at a college.
A year later she joined the London Broadcasting Company and targeted the advertising of publisher David Sullivan, owner of the Daily Sport and the Sunday Sport.
After Sullivan spent more than £2,000,000 on advertising in six months, he was so impressed he offered Brady a job with Sport Newspapers and she became one of his directors at 20.
It was during this time she spotted the sale of Birmingham City and persuaded him to buy the football club and let her run it, which she did as managing director aged just 23.
Brady’s interests stretch beyond the pitch as she is also Senior Non-Executive Director at Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment and is on the board of Taveta Investments Ltd. with Sir Philip Green .
She also shares her business expertise in her column with The Sun newspaper and has also published four books including two novels with her latest title, Strong Woman listed as a Sunday Times Bestseller.
In 2014, Karren became a Conservative life peer in the House of Lords and was later created Baroness Brady of Knightsbridge.
She was also appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2014 for her services to entrepreneurship and women in business.
According to Spears, Karren has a current estimated net worth of around £85million.
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