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CBI suffers fresh blow as City's governing body turns its back

CBI suffers fresh blow as City's governing body turns its back

The City of London Corporation's decision will not inspire confidence at the CBI that its efforts to survive the crisis will succeed.
The City of London's governing body has delivered a fresh hit to the CBI, saying it had joined the ranks of those suspending their membership of the scandal-hit business lobby group.

The City of London Corporation took its decision 24 hours after Britain's largest employers' group moved to help restore confidence following a string of resignations and suspensions.

They gathered pace last Friday in the wake of a rape allegation by a second female worker was reported.

The exodus prompted the CBI to suspend its activities.

President Brian McBride revealed on Monday a shake-up of its culture and governance controls - admitting it had failed staff on many fronts over many years, especially on the issue of sexual harassment.

He conceded, in an open letter to the membership, he was unsure whether the CBI would be able to regain trust.

"The recent allegations have revealed a culture of abuse at the CBI that the City of London Corporation strongly condemns," the body said in a statement.

It added: "The voice of business is an important one and we must ensure it is a voice that people and businesses can trust."

City of London Police has launched an investigation into the allegations, understood to have been raised by at least 12 women according to the Guardian newspaper.

Most are believed to relate to sexual harassment.

The CBI confirmed on Monday that a number of other members of staff had been dismissed for not meeting behavioural standards in the wake of the sacking of director general Tony Danker a fortnight ago.

It has always made clear that he was not the subject of serious allegations of wrongdoing.

The body has suspended all membership activity until June as it fights for survival, aided by the appointment of its former chief economist Rain Newton-Smith as director general.

Members have, however, criticised the appointment as hasty and the CBI's handling of the affair more generally.

The chief executive of pub company Adnams, Andy Wood, told Sky News the CBI brand was "probably damaged beyond repair".

He said of the open letter: "I think a number of the things that are talked about in there should have been in place anyway. And I would have expected that of a representative organisation that is speaking for some of the largest and most well-known companies in the UK.

"So whilst I welcome the letter and the contrition, I'm not sure the, you know, zero tolerance of bullying and harassment, training leaders in recognising bullying and harassment and appointing a chief people officer, go quite far enough and not quite the root and branch reform that was talked about earlier in the week."
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