Viglen Ltd provides IT products and services, including storage systems, servers, workstations and data/voice communications equipment and services.
The British company was formed in 1975 by Vigen Boyadjian and was acquired by Alan Sugar (later Lord Sugar)'s company Amstrad in 1994. During the 1980s the company specialised in direct sales through multi-page advertisements in leading computer magazines, catering particularly, but not exclusively, to owners of Acorn computers.
In 1997, it was listed as a public limited company and Amstrad plc shares were split into Viglen and Betacom shares, Betacom being renamed to Amstrad PLC. Following the sale of Amstrad PLC to Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB, Viglen is now Lord Sugar's sole IT establishment. Viglen used to be run by CEO Bordan Tkachuk, a longtime associate of Lord Sugar, who can be seen making special guest appearances on The Apprentice.
From 1994 to 1998, the company sponsored Charlton Athletic F.C., expiring when they won promotion to the FA Premier League.
Viglen focuses particularly on the education and public sectors, selling both desktop and server systems. Viglen also has interests in other IT markets such as managed services, high-performance clusters, and network-attached storage.
In December 2005, Viglen relocated from its London headquarters in Wembley to Colney Street near St. Albans into a building which also houses its fabrication plant.
On 1 July 2009, Lord Sugar resigned as the chairman of Viglen (and most of his other companies), handing over the reins of the company to longtime associate Claude Littner.
The new headquarters doubles up as one of the filming locations for the hit BBC show The Apprentice, with various scenes including the infamous "job interviews" being set there. The "walk of shame" exit sequence at the end of every episode, showing the contestant leaving the building and boarding a taxi is also filmed at the Viglen Headquarters. The boardroom scenes are actually filmed in a West London television studio.
On 15 December 2010, CEO Bordan Tkachuk, during a mock "interview" situation on The Apprentice, told a candidate that "ISP" stood for "Internet Service Protocol" (instead of Internet Service Provider), resulting in widespread criticism:
"I know what ISP is. It's an Internet Service Protocol. And that's what you're providing. It's not a telecoms operating licence. It's a protocol that allows telecoms over bandwidths.
"I've been running Alan Sugar's companies for the last 25 years, and that's why I know a little bit about technology."