CBI chief facing sex inquiry stands aside
THE head of Britain’s largest business group stood aside yesterday after a young colleague made an allegation of sexual harassment.
Confederation of British Industry director-general Tony Danker declared himself ‘mortified’ and said: ‘ It was completely unintentional, and I apologise profusely.’
The married father-of-two pledged to co-operate with a law firm brought in by the CBI to conduct an inquiry into the claims.
Mr Danker, 51, announced he was standing aside during the investigation, triggering shockwaves across the City. Insiders described him as a devoutly religious family man and ‘straight as a die’. He shares a £1.2million semi in north London with his solicitor wife Karen and their sons.
The allegations were revealed by The Guardian newspaper, where he was an executive before joining the CBI in 2020.
A junior female colleague is said to have complained in January about ‘ unwanted contact’ which she regarded as sexual harassment.
The CBI, which represents captains of industry among 190,000 businesses in the UK, confirmed it had received the January complaint about Mr Danker’s conduct – understood to involve ‘unwanted verbal remarks’ in the office – but had decided not to escalate it to a disciplinary matter.
Then last Thursday, The Guardian asked the CBI about claims he had also sent the woman a barrage of unwanted messages, some featuring sexually suggestive language, over more than a year.
And there were said to be further allegations about Mr Danker’s behaviour towards other staff.
Yesterday he said: ‘It’s been mortifying to hear that I have caused offence or anxiety to any colleague.’
The CBI has hired Joanna Chatterton, head of employment law at City law firm Fox Williams, to lead the inquiry. CBI president Brian McBride said: ‘The CBI takes matters of workplace conduct extremely seriously but it is important to stress that until this investigation is complete, any new allegations remain unproven.’
Belfast- born Mr Danker attended Manchester and Harvard universities, and was a special adviser at the Treasury and the Cabinet Office when Gordon Brown was prime minister.