The CBI is handling a legal case filed by sacked boss Tony Danker

The CBI is handling a legal case filed by sacked boss Tony Danker

  • By Simon Jack and Michael Rice
  • Business Editor and Business Correspondent, BBC News

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See: Speaking to the BBC in April 2023, former CBI chief Tony Danker apologizes but claims he was made the ‘fall man’.

The CBI business group has settled its wrongful dismissal lawsuit against former boss Tony Danker.

Mr. Danker was immediately fired in 2023 after complaints about his conduct.

His speech comes as allegations of other separate history violations at the lobbying group, but unrelated to Mr Danker, have been revealed.

The CBI has confirmed that it has agreed to a “non-disclosure agreement” with its former director general.

The organisation, which claims to represent the interests of 170,000 businesses in the UK, reiterated on Monday that Mr Danker was not linked to the historical allegations.

The CBI, one of Britain’s best-known lobbying groups, fell into crisis last year after allegations of rape and sexual harassment. This led to the withdrawal of dozens of its direct members, including John Lewis, BMW and Virgin Media O2, as well as thousands more through trade associations.

Events have been postponed and the government has cut ties with the group on economic and business policy discussions, raising fears about its funding and survival.

He has been criticized for taking female colleagues to karaoke bars, inviting young female colleagues to one-on-one breakfast meetings, following and commenting on social media posts, and sending private messages on work platforms. He was fired in April 2023.

But he claimed he had been made the “fall man” for the wider crisis engulfing the CBI and that his reputation had been “completely destroyed”.

Brian McBride, then head of the CBI, told the BBC after Mr Danker’s departure that “if he felt he had been mistreated, he was welcome to take his case to an employment tribunal or the courts”.

He also said Mr Danker’s description of events was “selective”.

It is understood that Mr Danker eventually took his case to Bruce Carr KC, author of the Carr Review on industrial disputes.

On Monday, the CBI said it had resolved the case, adding that its board “also reiterates that Mr. Danker has nothing to do with the historical allegations made in the media regarding matters that predate his tenure with the CBI and rejects any allegation of such association.”

Mr Dunker, who was born in Belfast, took over as head of the CBI in November 2020.

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn was the previous chief executive between 2015 and 2020 – a period of sexual abuse, including rape at a CBI summer party in 2019.

He previously spent 10 years as a consultant at McKinsey and worked as a special adviser to the Treasury during the Gordon Brown government. He was also international director and then chief strategy officer at Guardian News and Media.

The CBI is still reeling from its biggest scandal since it was founded in 1965 and has laid off a third of its staff as membership fees are cut.

She said the failure to act allowed a “very small minority” of workers to believe that they could get away with harassment or violence against women.

It recently secured additional funding and appointed business veteran Rupert Soames as its new president.

Rain Newton-Smith, who replaced Tony Danker as chief executive, previously told the BBC he had raised concerns about sexual harassment while in a senior role at the group.

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