The future of Britain’s formerly leading business lobby group is at stake ahead of a crucial vote on the remaining members of the scandal-hit Confederation of British Industry (CBI) on Tuesday.
After a series of sexual harassment allegations that first surfaced in March, the CBI is struggling to secure its future.
Members are asked if the renewal plan is enough to give them confidence in the CBI, a vote that will determine the future path of the once-influential group.
Brian McBride, the president of the CBI, said Monday that the outcome of the critical vote was not “taken for granted.”
We spoke to the largest companies in the country and we realized that they are looking for a different type of representation
He wrote in the Financial Times: “When we succeed we can create a leaner, more accountable and inclusive organization, when we fail we lose valuable time fighting for our members and a stronger economy and society.”
“I want to say to members and the wider business community that the outcome of Tuesday’s vote is not a given.”
Voting for members will take place during the Extraordinary General Meeting, which begins at 12 noon.
Members will vote on a new prospectus that will see the appointment of a new president and the members’ annual vote on the composition of the board after more than a dozen women made allegations of sexual harassment in the CBI with two separate allegations of rape.
The CBI’s new director general, Rain Newton-Smith, has promised to “fight for the organization.”
About a dozen firms, including engineering giant Siemens, Microsoft and oil major Esso, signed a joint letter, published in the Times Monday, ahead of Tuesday’s vote, supporting the CBI and its overhaul.
But on Monday a new group of companies was launched in hopes of gaining the support of those companies that have terminated or suspended their membership of the CBI and are not voting.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) established the Business Council. Founding members included some of the UK’s largest companies such as FTSE 100 oil giant BP, Heathrow, Holiday Inn owner IHG Hotels & Resorts and power generation group Drax.
BCC Director General Shevaun Haviland said: “We have spoken to the country’s largest companies and we realized that they are looking for a different type of representation.
“These companies want to be part of a framework that is rooted in their local communities but has the ability to help shape the national and international debate.”
She added that before the next general election, “the voice of business must be heard loud and clear and now is the right time for us to speak out”.
Former CBI chief Tony Danker was fired on April 11 after complaints were filed against him, including an allegation of sexual harassment.
His exit came after the Guardian ran articles in March and April detailing the allegations against him.
The Fox Williams law firm was hired to conduct an independent investigation, and a number of others were also fired by the CBI.
Mr Danker told the BBC his name had been wrongly linked to various allegations, including the alleged rapes that reportedly took place before he joined the CBI.
Aviva was the first major company to cut ties with the group following the allegations, and dozens of the biggest names in UK business soon followed suit.
https://www.standard.co.uk/business/business-news/scandalhit-cbi-faces-crunch-vote-in-battle-to-secure-its-future-b1085794.html The scandal-hit CBI faces a crucial vote in its fight to secure its future