Head of UK’s main business lobby fired over sexual misconduct allegations

Three other employees suspended amid accusations against Tony Danker; Rain Newton-Smith, former chief economist at CBI, agrees to take on role

File: Then-Confederation of Business Industry (CBI) director general Tony Danker addresses the annual CBI conference at the Vox Conference Centre in Birmingham, United Kingdom, November 21, 2022. (Oli Scarff/AFP)
File: Then-Confederation of Business Industry (CBI) director general Tony Danker addresses the annual CBI conference at the Vox Conference Centre in Birmingham, United Kingdom, November 21, 2022. (Oli Scarff/AFP)

LONDON, United Kingdom — Britain’s main business lobby group, the CBI, has sacked Director General Tony Danker following a probe into allegations of sexual misconduct, it announced Tuesday.

The Confederation of British Industry added in a statement that it had suspended three other employees “pending further investigation into a number of ongoing allegations.”

The CBI said Danker “is dismissed with immediate effect following the independent investigation into specific complaints of workplace misconduct against him.”

He had stepped aside from his role in early March, allowing the investigation to occur.

“The allegations that have been made over recent weeks about the CBI have been devastating,” Tuesday’s statement said.

“While investigations continue into a number of these, it is already clear to all of us that there have been serious failings in how we have acted as an organization.”

The statement also apologized “to the victims… including those impacted by the revulsion we have all felt at hearing their stories.”

“Nobody should feel unsafe in their workplace,” it added.

The CBI announced that Rain Newton-Smith, a former chief economist at the group, had agreed to rejoin as its new director general.

It will meanwhile create a chief people officer position, overseeing matters of workplace conduct and culture.

“We know it will take time for these steps to make a difference and rebuild trust,” the CBI said.

“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.”

The Guardian newspaper had reported that more than a dozen women claim to be victims of sexual misconduct by senior figures at the CBI, including one woman who alleged she was raped at a staff party.

The revelations have caused member companies and the UK government to distance themselves from the lobby group.

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