Tony Danker sacked as CBI boss following misconduct allegations

Tony Danker has been sacked as the head of the Confederation of British Industry after a series of misconduct allegations.

The board of the business group yesterday said Mr Danker’s conduct “fell short” of what was expected of him and said there had been “serious failings” in how it acted as an organisation.

But the former boss said that he was “shocked” by the decision and claimed that allegations against him had been “distorted”.

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“I recognise the intense publicity the CBI has suffered following the revelations of awful events that occurred before my time in office,” he tweeted, referring to allegations against himself and others at the CBI.

Tony Danker had led the CBI since late 2020 (image: Getty Images)Tony Danker had led the CBI since late 2020 (image: Getty Images)
Tony Danker had led the CBI since late 2020 (image: Getty Images)

“I was appalled to learn about them for the first time last week.

“I was nevertheless shocked to learn this morning that I had been dismissed from the CBI, instead of being invited to put my position forward as was originally confirmed.

“Many of the allegations against me have been distorted, but I recognise that I unintentionally made a number of colleagues feel uncomfortable and I am truly sorry about that.”

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The trade body has been rocked by allegations of a toxic workplace culture since Mr Danker was last month accused of allegedly making unwanted contact with a woman who works for the CBI.

She considered the contact to be sexual harassment, the Guardian reported at the time.

The group launched an investigation into his behaviour and he agreed to step down in the meantime. The first part of this investigation by an outside law firm has been completed, the CBI said.

Tony Danker is dismissed with immediate effect following the independent investigation into specific complaints of workplace misconduct against him,” it said.

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“The board wishes to make clear he is not the subject of any of the more recent allegations in The Guardian but has determined that his own conduct fell short of that expected of the director-general.”

Last week, the Guardian said it had been approached by more than a dozen women who claimed to be victims of various forms of sexual misconduct by senior members of the CBI who were not Mr Danker, including one woman who said she was raped at a staff party.

The board appointed former chief economist Rain Newton-Smith to take the top job from Mr Danker. She left the organisation just last month to join Barclays.

The CBI said: “The allegations that have been made over recent weeks about the CBI have been devastating.

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“While investigations continue into a number of these, it is already clear to all of us that there have been serious failings in how we have acted as an organisation. We must do better, and we must be better.

“We apologise to the victims of this organisational failure, including those impacted by the revulsion we have all felt at hearing their stories. Nobody should feel unsafe in their workplace.”

The CBI said that the outside law firm would continue its investigation and the business group would cooperate fully if the police launch any investigations.

Downing Street yesterday said that meetings between ministers and the CBI remain paused while the organisation continues to investigate the allegations.