10 June 2020
The CBI is announcing that Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, who is stepping down as Director-General in November, will be succeeded by Tony Danker, the current Chief Executive of Be The Business.
Carolyn had expected to complete her five-year term in September this year but agreed with the CBI Board to extend her term, to see through the urgent work of the CBI during the current crisis.
Under Carolyn's leadership, the CBI is working closely with the Government to ensure successful implementation of its business support packages. It has developed its own COVID-19 hub of support and resources for CBI members and the business sector more broadly.
Tony Danker, as CEO of Be The Business, remains focused on his own organisation’s response to COVID-19. In particular, he will continue to build up the support and resilience of SME businesses to withstand current pressures and emerge ready for growth.
On his appointment Tony Danker, said:
"It is an honour to be asked to lead the CBI, which is doing vital work in response to COVID-19. Meanwhile, Be the Business is also working to support thousands of businesses around the country through challenging times, helping them emerge resilient. This is my total focus until October."
The outgoing President of the CBI, John Allan CBE, said:
"We are very grateful that Carolyn has agreed to extend her term to complete the CBI's enormous effort to support the economy right now. And we are delighted that Tony Danker will be Carolyn's successor. Carolyn has led the CBI brilliantly for the past five years and is playing a vital role in helping our country navigate the current crisis.”
Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:
"The CBI is fully devoted to supporting businesses through this period and I am committed to leading our team on this work until I step down in November."
Next Tuesday (16 June) will see the CBI AGM take place virtually where Lord Karan Bilimoria is expected to succeed John Allan as CBI President.
Lord Bilimoria, commented:
“Carolyn continues to set very high standards as an outstanding leader in troubled times. Tony has the experience and skills needed to help lead the CBI in what will then be a critical term ahead as Britain recovers from this shock and returns to growth and competitiveness.
“In putting Be the Business on the map, engaging Government, large companies and thousands of SME firms in collective endeavour to strengthen UK productivity, he will bring a wealth of ideas and energy to our work in the next five years.
“In the meantime, all our focus is on working closely with government supporting businesses in these challenging times.”
Tony Danker biography:
In 2017 Tony was appointed the first CEO of Be the Business, the Business movement founded by a group of FTSE-100? Chairmen and the Chancellor. Danker has built the organisation from scratch, now reaching tens of thousands of firms every month with over 5000 SME leaders participating in its programmes and dozens of leading UK companies forming partnerships with Be the Business.
From 2010-2017 Tony was International Director, then Chief Strategy Officer, at Guardian News & Media. Responsible for expanding the Guardian’s global business, its restructuring plan and digital platform partnerships.
For two years before that, he was a Policy Advisor HM Government (2008-10), joining the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury. Tony worked for 10 years at McKinsey & Company (1998-2008) in London and Washington DC, latterly in McKinsey’s global government and education practices as a senior government specialist.
He holds a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School and a Law Degree from the University of Manchester. Born in Belfast, Tony now lives in London, married with two sons.
57% of those considered were female, while 10% were from a BAME background. The post was publicly advertised, and the CBI also utilised the services of a headhunting recruitment agency. The interviewing panel comprised six CBI board members, including 3 women and two BAME members.