CBI boss Tony Danker steps aside amid allegations of misconduct
The boss of the Confederation of British Industry has stepped aside amid allegations of misconduct.
The CBI said director-general Tony Danker had asked to step aside pending an independent investigation into complaints about his workplace conduct.
The group said it had looked into a formal complaint about Mr Danker’s conduct in January but found that “the issue did not require escalation to a disciplinary process”.
Last Thursday, however, the CBI was made aware of new allegations and a law firm has been hired to look into the claims.
Mr Danker’s action comes after The Guardian newspaper approached the CBI over the complaints, which included claims from a female employee that the business boss made “unwanted contact with her and considered this unwanted conduct to be sexual harassment”.
In a statement, the CBI said: “We have now taken steps to initiate an independent investigation into these new matters. Tony Danker asked to step aside from his role as director-general of the CBI while the independent investigation into these matters takes place.
“The CBI takes all matters of workplace conduct extremely seriously but it is important to stress that until this investigation is complete, any new allegations remain unproven and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”
Mr Danker has led the CBI, which represents businesses including Tesco and HSBC, since November 2020. Before that he held various positions across the business and media industries. He also worked as a government policy adviser from 2008-2010, working with the Cabinet Office and Treasury. Mr Danker has continued to represent the high-profile and influential organisation after the formal complaint was made.
He was at a CBI conference last Wednesday where Gillian Keegan, the education secretary, was the keynote speaker.
In his first public speech of the year in January, Mr Danker said the UK was lagging behind international rivals on green growth as he urged the government to take “big decisions” to boost the economy. He called on Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, not to “shy away from the hard decisions that can reverse the UK’s trajectory” of falling investment in his spring Budget.
He urged ministers to seize green growth opportunities by reforming the consent process for green infrastructure and using regulation to stimulate domestic demand for green technologies, as is being done for electric vehicles.
Joanna Chatterton, head of employment law at Fox Williams, is leading the investigation into the allegations against Mr Danker. Matthew Fell, the CBI’s chief UK policy director, has replaced Danker on an interim basis.