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HomeEconomySiemens and Microsoft lead last-minute drive to support backup for CBI

Siemens and Microsoft lead last-minute drive to support backup for CBI


Siemens and Microsoft are leading a last-minute move to bolster corporate support for the CBI ahead of a major confidence vote on Tuesday after allegations of serious misconduct sent the UK corporate lobby group into crisis.

The German industrial conglomerate, which has a significant presence in the UK, is coordinating a letter calling on other members of the lobby group to support the organization. Microsoft, the US tech giant whose UK head Clare Barclay currently sits on the board of the CBI, said it signed it.

A number of other companies, ranging from start-ups to larger corporates, have expressed interest, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The letter says that the CBI has “acknowledged its shortcomings and has established a robust action plan to be implemented by new leadership,” according to Sky News, which first reported on Siemens’ initiative.

It added that it was “essential for a refocused, effective CBI to re-establish its links with government and provide the voice needed by British business”. Siemens did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The CBI suspended virtually all activity in April when high-profile members left the lobby group over allegations of serious misconduct, including two allegations of rape reported by The Guardian newspaper, prompting a police investigation.

On Tuesday, members will vote on whether to support the organization after it laid out a plan to change its leadership, improve its culture and governance, and scale back some of its lobbying efforts to reduce duplication with specialist trade associations . Some critics questioned whether the reforms went far enough.

The CBI’s new director-general, Rain Newton-Smith, told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg on Sunday that the revelations were “absolutely devastating”.

She added: “It’s a really nerve-wracking time for us as an organization, and I’m absolutely committed to leading this program of change so we can be that collective voice,” she said.

The departures of members such as Aviva, NatWest, John Lewis and Vodafone have left the CBI in financial jeopardy, and bosses told its nearly 300 staff on Thursday that they plan to cut the group’s payroll costs by a third as part of wider cost-cutting efforts. . .

Members said winning a vote of confidence alone would not be enough to save the CBI, which relies on government access to influence policy on behalf of its members. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said in April that there was “no point in engaging with the CBI if their own members have failed them en masse”.

A person at a major member who interrupted his cooperation with the CBI said: “The key is government support: they will have to start the dialogue again or else the members will drift. They hold the key. Hunt probably has his future in his hands.

Speaking to the BBC on Sunday, Labour’s shadow affairs secretary Jonathan Reynolds held the door open to renewed contacts with the CBI: “I think this country needs an important national business voice that covers all different parts of the economy. includes. .”

Members are asked to vote on the motion: “Do the changes we have made – and the commitments we have made – to reshape our governance, culture and purpose give you the confidence you need to help the CBI? supports?”

People close to the CBI said the group had “positive conversations” with many members last week. “Our members are key to everything we do – and we welcome their support,” it said in response to the Siemens initiative.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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