CBI boss Tony Danker sacked over misconduct claims

The boss of one of the UK’s largest business groups has been fired over complaints about his behaviour at work.

Tony Danker will leave the CBI following an investigation over his conduct towards a female employee.

Three other CBI employees have also been suspended “pending further investigation into a number of ongoing allegations”, the group said.

The group is also “liaising with the police” and said it would “co-operate fully with any police investigations”.

The BBC has approached Mr Danker for comment. He stepped aside in March after the CBI hired law firm Fox Williams to investigate his conduct.

People close to Mr Danker describe him as stunned by the CBI’s decision to dismiss him with immediate effect and no redundancy package.

Mr Danker, who became director general of the business group in November 2020, had previously apologised for any “offence or anxiety” he had caused, saying it was “completely unintentional”.

The findings of the investigation into him for now remain unpublished.

Last week, the Guardian newspaper reported sexual misconduct claims against CBI employees, including an allegation of rape at a summer boat party in 2019.

Many of the most serious allegations predated Mr Danker’s time as director general.

In its statement on Tuesday, the CBI said: “Tony Danker is dismissed with immediate effect following the independent investigation into specific complaints of workplace misconduct against him.

“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.”

The lobby group has postponed its public events and asked Fox Williams to conduct a separate investigation to the one into Mr Danker.

Government departments have also put their engagement with the CBI on hold.

In its statement, the lobby group said that there had been “serious failings” in how it had handled sexual misconduct complaints and it would now begin a “root-and-branch review” of its culture and governance.

This will look at issues such as how employees raise concerns and processes for escalating complaints.

“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,” it said.

Mr Danker has been replaced as director general by Rain Newton-Smith, the CBI’s former chief economist.

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