Rupert Soames named as next president of CBI as it tries to rebrand | Business #Rupert #Soames #named #president #CBI #rebrand #Business

Rupert Soames, the former chief executive of the outsourcing company Serco, has been named as the next president of the Confederation of British Industry, as the scandal-hit lobby group aims to rehabilitate its image following allegations of sexual misconduct.

Soames, the chair of Smith & Nephew, a London-listed medical tech group, will take up the role in the new year before being formally elected by CBI members at its next annual general meeting in June.

Soames, who is the grandson of Winston Churchill and brother to the former Conservative minister Nicholas Soames, also spent 11 years at the temporary power supply firm Aggreko. Announcing his appointment, the CBI said he would bring “deep experience in corporate governance” to its management team.

“Rupert is a fantastic advocate for UK business,” said Rain Newton-Smith, the chief executive of the CBI. “I am delighted to enter the new year working alongside someone with his depth and breadth of experience to ensure the CBI delivers a strong voice for our members, trade associations and for the UK business community.”

Newton-Smith returned to lead the CBI after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct were revealed by the Guardian in April.

Since the revelations, which cost the previous chief executive, Tony Danker, his job, nearly 100 British companies decided to pause or suspend their membership, including the carmakers BMW, Ford and Jaguar Land Rover; the supermarkets Tesco and Sainsbury’s; the asset managers Aviva, Fidelity and Schroders; the US banks Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan and the oil companies Shell and BP.

“The CBI is needed more now than at almost any time in its history,” said Soames. “Business and government need to work closely together to deliver a prosperous future where economic growth will lift living standards and sustainably fund the UK’s vital public services.”

The lobby group, which survived a confidence vote by members at an extraordinary meeting in June after vowing to reform its culture and governance, said earlier this month that it is suffering a “considerable level of financial stress” in the wake of the allegations.

The CBI disclosed in its annual report that it is “emerging from an unprecedented situation” that led to “exceptional costs”, warning that there was also “material uncertainty arising from the CBI’s financial performance since the year end”.

The group said it had only been able to survive financially “through the backing of key members, the use of reserves, support from creditors and with bank financing”.

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That emergency funding is due to “terminate on 30 September 2024” and the board said it intended to “look to renew the facility if required”. It said it had paid the exceptional costs caused by the scandal and “the organisation has been reshaped so that salary costs are appropriate given the expected level of income”.

“There is no better person to pass the baton to,” said Brian McBride, the outgoing president of the CBI. “Rupert’s track record as one of the UK’s longest serving and most successful CEO’s makes him the ideal choice.”

#Rupert #Soames #named #president #CBI #rebrand #Business

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