Meet our Managing Director Ed Burstell

MEET OUR MD: Ed Burstell

Originally from New York, our Managing Director, Ed Burstell joined Liberty in 2008, coming from his home city’s luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman.

Initially joining us as buying director, he was promoted to Managing Director in June 2010 and is now responsible for overseeing all buying functions and marketing here at Liberty.


On 30th May 2012, Ed appeared as a guest judge on The Apprentice. Read our interview below to find out more about his experience on the show.

Tell us what happened on the days filming

On the day of filming, my first task was to be a ‘secret shopper’ as the teams pitched their ideas. I posed as a customer and observed their way of selling, what was unique and special about their product and anything which made them stand out. And, ultimately if I thought they could make any money! In my view, it’s all about business and it’s a combination of all these factors which contribute to being successful.

Afterwards I was asked to question the Apprentices’ as part of a larger group. It got a little intense, as you can imagine, but Lord Sugar was very focused and is a no nonsense man like myself! He’s very personable and knows when someone is trying to bulls*it him too.

What would you be looking for in your ideal apprentice?

I’d take my lead from Lord Sugar; it’s all about having a visible business brain and being adaptable to whatever the business world throws at you. Not everyone can be an expert in every field – I’m certainly not – but it’s all about being adaptable to the situation and of course having enthusiasm.

Do you believe experience or qualifications are more important in the workplace?

I don’t think there’s a right answer to this. I have a degree in accounting which I’ve never used. I got the degree purely because my parents wanted me to, but instead of pursuing the numbers I started on my retail journey. Believe it or not, I started as a fragrance sprayer at Macy’s (which was hell!) but it was my first introduction into retail and I’ve never left.

I learnt so much starting on the shop floor and working my way up through the ranks, and this has been an invaluable skill to learn. So I would say it makes no difference what your qualifications are, it’s about how you use your time and what you learn in the process.

Did you meet Alan Sugar or his aides Karren and Nick behind the scenes? What were they like?

I had a good chat with Lord Sugar and told him I was a fan of the show! He’s not a ‘warm and fuzzy’ character but he’s very down to earth and I like that about him. I’ve met Karren and Nick before on the Junior Apprentice so we caught up in filming breaks.

If you could give the apprentices one bit of advice, what would it be?

Don’t try to bulls*it an expert, whether it’s Lord Sugar or someone in the industry you’re trying to impress. They’ll always see through you.

How do you think you would fare being a candidate on the show?

Put it this way - at my age, that boat has sailed!

If you could say 'you're hired' to one of the 2012 candidates, who would it be?

If I had to place my bets, they’d be on Jade. You’ll have to watch the show to see if I’m right though!