14/08/2014 16:57 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Apprentice Judge Karren Brady: 'I Regret Going Back To Work Two Days After Having Baby - But I Had A Manager To Sack'

Karren Brady

Apprentice star Karren Brady has revealed why she returned to work just two days after she had her first child – because she had to fire an under-performing football manager.

The 44-year-old businesswoman, who is also vice-chair of West Ham United, said she felt 'a deep regret' about not taking more time off to be with her newborn.

Talking to Jonathan Ross on his ITV show she said she went back to work as managing director of Birmingham Football Club two days after she gave birth to Sophia, now 17, because she 'had a manager to sack'.

She said: "I didn't take much maternity leave, which is a deep regret of mine.

"With Sophie, unfortunately I had a manager to sack, so I had to have my baby on the Wednesday and get up and go and do it on the Friday. It was pretty hardcore."

It's believed she was referring to former Birmingham City manager Barry Fry, after she sacked him in 1996.

Karren, who is married to former Birmingham City striker, Canadian Paul Peschisolido, took over Birmingham City at the age of 23, had her first child, Sophia, in 1996 when she was 27, and then had son, Paolo, in 1998, when she was 29. She said modern technology had made life easier for working mothers, enabling them to work wherever they are, rather than having to go into an office.

Now one of Lord Sugar's trusted aides on reality show The Apprentice, Karren spoke about being diagnosed with a brain aneurysm, or bulging blood vessel, at the age of 36.

She said: "I went and had this five-hour operation and spent a couple of days in intensive care and then I was home.

"One of the most important things about being ill is actually getting on with your life after it and closing the door and not reflecting on it. I've packed it away and I've got on with my life.

"I've had the best possible outcome of the operation. There is life after brain aneurysms, and things go on and, touch wood, I've not had a problem with it since."

Speaking previously about the battle to combine work and childcare, she said: "When Paolo was born I took longer off and worked from home when I could.

"I tried bringing both children to the office but that didn't work out. I had to have full-time help in the end."

More on Parentdish:

Apprentice judge Karren Brady calls on working mums to stop feeling guilty

New Year Honours List Announced