CBI pauses all event activity as crisis grips business organisation

Damian Waters

Big business organisation the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has been plunged into crisis and suspended all event activity following the sacking of its director general Tony Danker.

As TheBusinessDesk.com reported yesterday Danker was sacked after complaints were raised about his conduct, particularly related to female colleagues.

The government has suspended contact with the CBI, with Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch cancelling a meeting with business organisations last week. Labour has also chosen not to engage with the CBI while the inquiry unfolds.

In the regions individual directors are being asked to exercise their own discretion as to what meetings they attend and who they share platforms with.

It is understood that staff members are making case-by-case decisions on whether to attend external events.

North West regional director Damian Waters politely diverted our questions about the mood amongst North West members to the press office in London.

Waters had been due to appear at a panel event next Friday (21 April) alongside Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary Jonathan Reynolds MP, at the offices of law firm Addleshaw Goddard. Waters has now withdrawn from the event.

All other event activity has been suspended.

In what was previously a packed agenda of meetings and forums for members across the UK, the events section of the website says:

“The CBI programme of events is currently under temporary review.

“Thank you for your patience during this time. If an event you are due to attend is affected, our team will contact you as soon as possible with further information.”

The organisation has moved quickly to appoint Rain Newton-Smith, its former chief economist, as a replacement for Danker. She had left the CBI to join Barclays on March 6.

A CBI spokeswoman said: “We are deeply proud to represent over 190,000 businesses in the UK and acutely aware of the responsibilities of that role. We recognise that we need to be better and do better for our members and we will now work tirelessly to ensure that under new leadership and with a commitment to build a modern, inclusive culture, the CBI can and will resume its vital work of supporting British business. We hope that our members will be part of that journey with us.”

TheBusinessDesk.com have put a series of questions to regional board members of the CBI and specific questions to the CBI directly, principally about the capacity to represent business effectively with this level of turmoil.

We will update this story with replies as they come in.

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