THE CBI’s chances of survival shrank further yesterday after the Chancellor said there was “no point” engaging with the organisation.
And a top fund manager said the lobby group’s sexual misconduct scandal risked putting women off business.
The CBI, which is meant to represent 190,000 members, is in meltdown as police investigate two separate rape allegations and inappropriate behaviour across the organisation.
When asked if the CBI could rebuild trust, its president, Brian McBride, said: “I simply don’t know.”
Dame Helena Morrissey, former boss of Newton Investment Management and director of a number of City firms, said the “horrible allegations” risked “putting women off joining industry”.
She told The Sun: “I don’t know why the CBI is still trying to cling on — it’s over.
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“They cannot continue to represent business.”
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt told journalists: “There’s no point engaging with the CBI when their own members have deserted them in droves.
“We are not going to wait for a reinvention of the CBI or for the CBI to get back on its feet.”
On Friday, in the wake of fresh rape allegations, over 60 companies axed, paused or suspended their membership of the CBI, including Aviva, NatWest and John Lewis.
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The lobby group has mothballed its operations until a meeting in June.
RISHI SCHMOOZES 200 CITY LEADERS
PRIME Minister Rishi Sunak proclaimed his Government was “unashamedly pro-business” as he launched a charm offensive to woo company bosses.
Yesterday’s “Business Connect” summit was an attempt to re-engage with hundreds of chief executives after contact with the scandal-rocked CBI was frozen.
Sources said the Government wanted to “lavish love” on business after years of tension.
It has been shaken by the success of Labour’s Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves having boardroom breakfasts with City chiefs in what’s become known as a “salmon and scrambled eggs offensive”.
Business confidence in the Government was rattled last year by the brief reign of Liz Truss and her mini-budget, which brought the financial system to the brink of collapse.
Company chiefs have also never forgotten Boris Johnson’s “F*** business” comment when he was Foreign Secretary.
Mr Sunak took to the stage to tell company chiefs: “We’ve got your back. We know the last year has not been easy but I believe we are turning a corner.
“Optimism and confidence are improving. Our job is to build on that positive momentum and that’s why we need to create the conditions for you to succeed and drive that growth.”
A major tech boss said: “It’s clear the Government wants to engage and listen. And that should be welcomed because business has fallen down the agenda.”
BAE Systems CEO Charles Woodburn said it was “good to have some engagement”.
And advertising tycoon Sir Martin Sorrell said: “Whatever the stimulus for this event is, the UK brand has been damaged, so any effort around that is a positive.”
Luxury handbag designer Anya Hindmarch called on the Government to appreciate Britain’s strong creative industries as a “marketing arm for the UK”.
She said: “It’s very easy to lose your edge — like sunburn, it can happen before you realise.”
Mr Sunak admitted he regularly bought Hindmarch bags for his wife and hailed the UK’s fashion universities as the best in the world.
But Burberry boss Gerry Murphy slammed the Government for failing to bring back tax-free shopping.
He said scrapping VAT relief was a “spectacular own goal” that had made the UK the “least attractive shopping destination in Europe”.
BANK RUN ON SUISSE HIT £55BN
CREDIT Suisse customers pulled £55billion out at the start of the year, the Swiss bank has revealed.
The lender yesterday admitted the true scale of the turmoil that preceded its state-engineered rescue by rival UBS.
It warned that it would not be profitable until 2024 after making a loss of 7.3billion Swiss francs (£6.6billion), the worst loss since 2008.
Credit Suisse was hit by market turmoil after Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse in the US in March, causing clients to withdraw funds.
The Swiss National Bank called the subsequent takeover “systemically important” to the global banking system.
There had been concerns that unless the run on Credit Suisse was stopped, it could spread.
BEN RUES GYM SLIP
GYMSHARK, the athleisure brand started by the UK’s youngest self-made billionaire, has posted a 40 per cent slip in profits on the back of rising costs and weakening demand.
Ben Francis, 30, set up Gymshark 11 years ago and it was valued at more than £1billion in 2020.
But pre-tax profits fell from £45.4million to £27.8million in the year to the end of July 2022, despite overall sales rising a fifth to £484.4million.
BARCLAYS up 0.96 to 154.20
BP up 3.90 to 533.90
CENTRICA up 1.05 to 113.85
HSBC down 0.40 to 573.3
LLOYDS up 0.05 to 48.91
M&S up 0.75 to 164.65
NATWEST up 1.70 to 274.2
ROYAL MAIL up 3.80 to 254.60
SAINSBURY’S down 1.20 to 280.50
SHELL up 8.50 to 2,461.50
TESCO down 0.80 to 278.10
AN employee-owned firm is giving 150 staff a £150,000 payday after selling a stake.
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4most, a provider of risk analytics, was considering a stock market listing — but has now sold a 51 per cent stake to Phoenix Equity Partners.
The windfall for staff includes graduates who had been with the firm for only two years.
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