Saturday, 4 June 2016

Business group the CBI appoints Carolyn Fairbairn as next director-general

A FORMER member of the 10 Downing Street policy unit has been appointed as director-general of the CBI.

Carolyn Fairbairn, 54, who has worked as a journalist, economist and management consultant, will become the business body’s first female chief when she takes over from John Cridland in November.
She holds a number of non-executive directorships including Capita and Lloyds Banking Group, as well as the Competition & Markets Authority and the UK Statistics Authority. She will step down from these, apart from remaining a trustee of cancer charity Marie Curie.

Fairbairn is also a former director of strategy at both the BBC and ITV and while a member of Number 10’s policy unit, advising on health and social services, between 1995-97. Between 2008 and 2011, she was a non-executive director of the Financial Services Authority following the collapse of Northern Rock and was involved in restructuring it into two new regulators, the Prudential Regulation Authority and Financial Conduct Authority.

CBI president Sir Mike Rake said: “Carolyn is a remarkable business leader with an impressive background as an economist, journalist, management consultant and policy strategist.

“Her wealth and breadth of experience will be critical in steering the CBI through choppy political and economic waters, including a European Union referendum.”

Fairbairn said: “The debate around Britain’s relationship with the EU and the productivity challenge facing our economy will be two of the defining issues of the next few years, and I greatly look forward to representing the voice of British businesses of all sizes on these questions and many others.

“Now perhaps more than ever, thriving British companies hold the key to the future prosperity of our country.”

Rake added: “I’d like to thank John on behalf of CBI members for his outstanding service and dedication to the business community. After more than 30 years at the CBI, banging the drum for business of all sizes at home and abroad, he will be sorely missed.

“Among John’s many achievements during his CBI career are putting the growth potential of medium-sized businesses on the economic and political map and his work on the Low Pay Commission in introducing a national minimum wage.”

Cridland said: “While I will be sad to leave the CBI later this year, I am delighted to pass the baton to Carolyn, who will become the 11th director-general of an organisation that I have been proud to serve for more than 30 years.”

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna commented: “Carolyn Fairbairn has been appointed on her own merits to head the CBI but that shouldn’t stop us warmly welcoming her as its first female director-general.

“There needs to be much more diversity in senior executive positions in UK business – it’s good to see the CBI helping to lead the way.”


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