The Confederation of British Industry has announced it is to mothball its operations by June following an exodus of businesses including John Lewis and NatWest following revelations by the Guardian about alleged sexual misconduct by male staff at the lobbying group.
CBI’s board said it is suspending all membership and policy activities until an extraordinary meeting in June, when members will vote on its future and purpose.
The Guardian has published a series of accounts from more than a dozen women who have claimed they have been victims of sexual misconduct by men in the CBI, including two women who said they were raped by colleagues.
Following the latest revelations on Friday, in which a woman said she was raped by two male colleagues who worked with her in an overseas office of the CBI, more than 50 of Britain’s largest businesses have dropped or suspended engagement with the group. suspended.
The CBI, which claimed to represent 190,000 businesses before the exodus, was established by Royal Charter in 1965. Its effective mothballing means an uncertain future for its workforce of over 300 employees.
The board said in a statement that it “needs to change a lot” to win back the confidence of businesses.
It added: “The CBI shares the shock and revulsion at the events that have taken place and the past failures in our organization that allowed these incidents to happen. We are deeply sorry and express our deepest condolences to the women who have endured these horrific experiences.
“We have listened carefully to what our allies, members and stakeholders have said in recent days and weeks. We have heard loud and clear the demand for far-reaching change.”
It plans to hold talks with employees, businesses, experts and others about its future role before meeting over the next two months.
“This work and cultural reform will be the overall and immediate focus of the organization in the coming weeks,” it said.
More details soon…