The CBI is a not-for-profit membership organisation, founded on 30 July 1965 when the British Employers' Confederation, the Federation of British Industries and the National Association of British Manufacturers joined together to form the Confederation of British Industry. Our Royal Charter sets out the principles for how we govern ourselves from day-to-day.

Our mandate comes from our members

The CBI receives its mandate from our 9 Regional Councils, 3 National Councils from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland plus 10 subject based policy standing committees, an Enterprise Forum which represents small and medium-sized enterprises and a Trade Association Council, which represents our trade association members.

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Each quarter this engagement process reaches over 900 committee and council representatives across over 600 member organisations who have a direct say in what we do and how we do it, from refreshing our work plan to discussing
the key business issues of the day and re-calibrating our influence.

Each of our national and regional council members are elected to a term of office by the rest of the CBI's regional membership base. Our standing committee members are invited to join based on their sector experience and technical expertise.

In 2016 we established two new Standing Committees to help modernise and diversify who we speak for. The '35 under 35' committee was approved by the Chairs' Committee in July 2016 and was created to ensure that a broader range of current and future business leaders were included in our consultation process helping to future proof CBI's proposals and their impact. The committee is made up of 35 'rising stars' under the age of 35 from our members.

In January 2016 the Chairs' Committee approved the creation of 'Tech Group'. This was established to reflect our efforts in ensuring that the CBI speaks for all parts of the business community and supports our desire to increase the CBI's representation of the digital and tech sectors.

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The CBI Council is the formal governing body for the CBI

As established in our Royal Charter, the Council comprises all the members of the CBI's regional and national councils, the Enterprise Forum, the Trade Association Council, the President's Committee, and past CBI Presidents. To reflect modern boardroom practices and decision-making:

  • Decisions on policy matters have been delegated by the CBI Council to the Chairs' Committee;
  • The Council's authority on operational and financial issues has been delegated to the CBI Board;
  • The CBI President invites and convenes the President's Committee, which acts as an advisory forum for the CBI President and the senior team at the CBI on key issues of the day.
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The CBI Chairs' Committee is responsible for setting the CBI's policy priorities

Final policy positions are mandated by our Chairs' Committee, which has a seat for all of the chairs of our Regional and National Councils and subject-based policy Standing Committees, Enterprise Forum and Trade Association Council. The Chairs' Committee meets 4 times a year following each Standing Committee and Regional Council round.

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The CBI Board is responsible for decision making on operational activities

The CBI's strategic and financial decisions are determined by the CBI Board, which is chaired by the CBI President and includes the support and guidance of 5 other non-executives. The Board is assisted by an Audit Committee, chaired and guided by 3 of the 5 non-executives that sit on the Board. In line with corporate governance best practice, the non-executive members of the Board provide independent knowledge, judgement and expertise and constructively challenge the executive members of the board.

Day to day management of the CBI is in the hands of the Director-General supported by the CBI Executive Committee which acts as the senior team at the CBI.

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The President's Committee acts as an advisory body to the CBI President

The President's Committee is one of the CBI's most senior steering groups, comprising a diverse mix of CEOs and Chairs from the UK's leading companies. Its purpose is to advise the CBI President and executive team on significant economic and policy issues. This group includes up to 80 of the CBI's leading members as well as the chairs of our Enterprise Forum and Trade Association Council.

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CBI Annual General Meeting

Every year our members are invited to attend our Annual General Meeting. The Annual General Meeting is used to elect, or re-elect CBI Board members and the CBI President, elect the CBI Auditors annually and vote on a variety of resolutions.

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