CBI business group is done, says City leader

Helena Morrissey, a City leader, has concurred that the CBI is “done” following its admission of neglecting to terminate employees who sexually harassed female workers.

After facing a series of accusations, including two cases of rape, the business lobby group has terminated several individuals.

Despite the dismissals, Baroness Morrissey, a prominent City fund manager who chairs investment firm AJ Bell, deemed the measures as “insufficient and tardy”.

Brian McBride, the president of CBI, has admitted the organization’s need to regain trust. Numerous big names, such as John Lewis, BMW, Virgin Media O2, Aviva, Zurich, Phoenix Group, Natwest, Mastercard, Kingfisher, and ITV, have left the group, causing a mass exodus of members.

While many other companies contacted by the BBC have not yet commented on their status with the organization, some firms have stated that they are “suspending” their involvement with the lobby group.

When questioned on BBC’s Today program about her views on the future of CBI as an organization, she replied, “I’m afraid I do believe so.” She added, “They acted too late, and I think losing trust is a fast and simple process, whereas gaining it back is difficult.”

Baroness Morrissey, who advocates for greater female representation in corporate leadership, also censured companies that have not yet announced their departure from the CBI.

The CBI released a statement on Monday outlining the measures it was implementing to restore confidence in the organization following a report from an external law firm that discovered it had employed “harmful” employees and enabled a “tiny proportion” of staff to assume that they could engage in harassment or violence towards women with impunity.

Since The Guardian published allegations of workplace impropriety, harassment, and severe sexual assault, including two rape accusations, the CBI has been embroiled in a crisis.

The City of London Police is investigating both rape allegations. During an interview with the BBC on Monday, Mr. McBride mentioned that the CBI would now embrace a “zero-tolerance culture.” However, Andy Wood, the CEO of Adnams brewery, which has terminated its CBI membership, stated that he had not received any communication that would “convince me to rejoin the CBI.”Mr. Wood expressed uncertainty about the group’s viability, saying, “I’m not certain if the organization is redeemable.” “Modern organizations must have a zero-tolerance policy toward bullying and sexual harassment,” he added. He also remarked, “It just highlights how outmoded the CBI was internally.”

However, Michael Plaut, the previous chairman of CBI Wales, argued that “simply dissolving the CBI benefits no one. It’s an easy way out. As members, we need to roll up our sleeves and reconstruct the organization, creating a model organization for the 21st century.”

The Confederation of British Industry, or CBI, is a lobby group that represents approximately 190,000 businesses and millions of employees, advocating on their behalf with the UK government. The CBI played a significant role during the Covid-19 pandemic, helping to establish the furlough scheme and protect jobs.

It campaigned against Brexit and subsequently lobbied for a trade and co-operation agreement. The CBI also promotes best practices among its members and was founded in 1965, currently employing about 300 people. The majority of its directors general have been men, with the exception of Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, who held the position from 2015 to 2020.

Following the dismissal of former director general Tony Danker in April due to workplace misconduct complaints, Rain Newton-Smith, the former chief economist of the CBI, has been appointed as the new director general.


Source : bbc.com

By Ryan

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