Home Estate Planning Still “jeopardy” over CBI future, but new prez Rupert Soames says firms are re-engaging

Still “jeopardy” over CBI future, but new prez Rupert Soames says firms are re-engaging

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The new boss of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) revealed that there is still some doubt as to whether the business lobby group can survive the scandal.

Speaking to the BBC, the CBI’s new president Rupert Soames admitted that the organisation has to refinance its bank debt in autumn of this year. He explained that they are “grateful that a number of banks agreed to finance us, but like many other businesses we are here at the pleasure of our lenders.”

He added that “there is jeopardy in anything you do in life”, adding, “we have to cut our cloth according to our means.”

The group has cut one third of its 300 staff and closed overseas offices. It managed to secure emergency funding last September after it failed attempts to raise £3m forcing the group to to cancel its annual general meeting.

The major scandal hit the group last April after a series of sexual misconduct claims, including rapes in the organisation came out, which led to an exodus of top names including Aviva and Phoenix.

The well-respected City grandee Soames – formerly of Serco – told the BBC that 80 per cent of the 270 members who resigned or paused their membership said they would consider reengaging.

“I think that people have found that life without the CBI has left something missing,” Soames stated.

He claimed the group was instrumental in securing Treasury tax breaks for businesses that invest heavily in the UK. He also said they group was involved in swaying the government into offering extra free childcare in England in the Autumn Statement.

Despite that, an unnamed former member told the BBC that it wouldn’t re-join, adding “it has been effectively absent from UK civic life for a year and what have we missed? Nothing.”

We have to cut our cloth according to our means

Rupert Soames

Soames insisted to the BBC that if the CBI didn’t exist it would still be necessary to invent it.

Earlier this week, the CBI settled a legal case brought by its former director-general, Tony Danker, after he was dismissed last year following complaints about workplace misconduct.

Danker was removed last April after a junior female colleague accused him of making unwanted comments that she considered sexual harassment.

He previously apologised for making colleagues “feel uncomfortable” but also said he was made “the fall guy” for a wider sexual misconduct scandal at the group.

He sued the CBI over its handling of his dismissal but on Monday the CBI board announced it agreed to an undisclosed settlement with him.

While on Tuesday, it was revealed by the City of London Police, that they are “not able to progress further criminally” with 11 out of 12 allegations of serious misconduct made against the CBI.

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