Ex-CBI boss not shown report that led to dismissal

April 12, 2023 – BBC News –The sacked boss of the CBI was not shown a copy of the report that led to his immediate dismissal from the business lobby group. Tony Danker was fired following allegations of workplace misconduct at the lobby group. The BBC understands Mr Danker was interviewed and submitted written evidence as part of an independent investigation but was not given a chance to respond to the final report.

The CBI declined to comment. Meanwhile, the BBC has learned that a major FTSE 100 company has suspended all engagement with the CBI following separate allegations of serious sexual misconduct at the group. Mr Danker is not the subject of these allegations.

Another large blue chip UK company – which wished to remain anonymous – said it was “deeply concerned” about the claims facing the lobby group.

Law firm Fox Williams conducted an investigation which found that Mr Danker’s conduct had fallen short of that expected of the director general.

This included a complaint from a female employee in January and complaints from other members of staff which surfaced last month.

Mr Danker wrote on social media: “Many of the allegations against me have been distorted, but I recognise that I unintentionally made a number of colleagues feel uncomfortable and I am truly sorry about that”.

Mr Danker was appointed as director general of the CBI in 2020, replacing Dame Carolyn Fairbairn who had held the job for five years.

He is being replaced by Rain Newton-Smith who is returning to the CBI. She was chief economist at the lobby group between 2014 and March this year and was a member of its executive committee. She left to join Barclays.

Fox Williams is also investigating sexual misconduct claims against CBI employees, including an allegation of rape at a summer boat party in 2019.

Three CBI employees have been suspended and the City of London police are investigating the claims.

Many companies contacted by the BBC who are members of the CBI have expressed deep concerns over the allegations and are reviewing their membership of the business lobby group, pending the outcome of the investigations.

The government has said it will extend the pause it has placed on engagement with the CBI until Fox Williams’ investigation has concluded.

It is not clear whether the involvement of the police will alter the timetable of the report and the CBI could not estimate when it might be published.

It leaves the CBI in limbo for the time being, unable to effectively engage with either government or its own members.

A spokesperson for Rolls-Royce, the aerospace giant, said the allegations were “deeply concerning”.

“We note the actions that the CBI has announced and that investigations are continuing. We will await the completion of these investigations before considering our membership,” the spokesperson added.

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