Monday, October 30, 2023

Sacked CBI Chief Alleges Reputation ‘Totally Destroyed’


The former boss of business group giant the CBI, Tony Danker, has said his “reputation has been totally destroyed” after being fired over complaints about his behaviour. In his first interview since being dismissed on 11 April, Mr Danker said his termination letter had cited four reasons for dismissal: organising a secret and private karaoke party for 15 people after a Christmas work event, viewing the Instagram accounts of CBI staff, sending non-work related messages to staff on work messaging platforms and inviting junior staff to breakfasts, lunches or one-on-one meetings.

Mr Danker accepted that some staff may have found his approach at work uncomfortable and apologised for that, but he did not believe his immediate sacking was warranted. He claimed he had been made “the fall guy” for a wider crisis engulfing the CBI, which is facing a number of claims from 2019 including drug use as well as serious sexual assault which is being investigated by City of London police.

The CBI has said Mr Danker’s dismissal followed an independent investigation into specific complaints of workplace misconduct against him. Mr Danker admitted that he did look at the Instagram profiles and stories of “a very small number of CBI staff, men and women”. He said these messages said things such as ”hi, how are you? How was your weekend? Show me pictures of your dogs or your babies”. But he believed some people had thought the messages inappropriate.

Mr Danker also acknowledged he had invited junior staff to lunches and breakfasts as part of a CBI mentoring scheme called the Shadowing Programme. He said both male and female employees were invited by Mr Danker to discuss their careers. The “private” karaoke party came after people suggested it after a CBI Christmas party in 2021.

When asked why he has chosen to speak publicly, Mr Danker said he’d rather not talk to the media but added: “It is just not okay to throw somebody under the bus and ask them to be the fall guy when their entire reputation is destroyed.”

Alison Loveday, an employment lawyer at Lockett Loveday McMahon Solicitors, defines sexual harassment as “unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature” which must have either violated someone’s dignity or created an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.

Mr Danker said he has never used sexually suggestive language with people at the CBI, nor had any physical contact or propositioned anyone. If you have been affected by any issues raised in this article, help and support can be found at BBC Action Line. Have you been affected by the issues discussed in this story? Please share your experiences by emailing Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also get in touch in the following ways: WhatsApp: +44 7756 165803; Tweet: @BBC_HaveYourSay; Upload pictures or video. Please read our terms & conditions and privacy policy.

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