Britain’s biggest business lobby group on Wednesday (31) pledged a significant shakeup following allegations of sexual harassment by staff that could reportedly cause it to fold.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has been mired in a scandal since the claims were made public this year, sparking an exodus of member companies and changes at the top of the organisation.
New director general Rain Newton-Smith, speaking Wednesday as UK business looks for leadership amid a cost-of-living crisis, said “a renewed CBI can once again have a voice on the serious economic challenges the UK faces”.
Changes outlined ahead of the group’s extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on Tuesday (6) include the departure of CBI president Brian McBride and non-executive directors.
The EGM will hold a vote on a resolution which calls on remaining members to put their confidence in CBI proposals to reform its “governance, culture, and purpose”.
The organisation is also creating a People & Culture Committee plus an external expert-led Culture Advisory Committee.
“Following a series of member resignations, we know that the CBI will need to be smaller and refocused in the future,” the organisation said.
“The board has sought advice on matters of restructuring as may be appropriate, as any responsible board would.”
The Guardian newspaper, which first published the claims of sexual harassment, reported Wednesday that this legal advice included guidance on potential insolvency.
The paper added the advice was requested ahead of publication of the lobby’s turnaround plans this week.
More than a dozen women claimed they had been sexually harassed at the CBI and two others alleged they had been raped.
Newton-Smith took over from Tony Danker, who departed over a separate misconduct allegation.