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CBI appoints first female director general

Former BBC and ITV director of strategy Carolyn Fairbairn has been appointed director general of the Confederation of British Industry, replacing John Cridland who will leave in November.

She will work closely with CBI president designate Paul Dreschler in ensuring the interests of British businesses of all sizes across the UK are represented in Whitehall, Brussels and internationally.

“Carolyn’s CV speaks for itself,” said CBI president Sir Mike Rake. “Her wealth and breadth of experience will be critical in steering the CBI through choppy political and economic waters, including an EU referendum.”

Fairbairn said: “The debate around Britain’s relationship with the European Union 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.”

Fairbairn currently holds a number of non-executive positions including with global outsourcer Capita, small cap manufacturer Vitec, Lloyds Banking Group, the Competition and Markets Authority and the UK Statistics Authority.

She plans to step down from all her current non-executive directorships when she takes up her role at the CBI, apart from remaining a trustee of the charity Marie Curie.

On Monday night (June 29), business secretary Sajid Javid criticised the business group for its stance over the EU referendum. He said the CBI had showed its “hand to the [poker] table” before the Prime Minister had started negotiating a better deal in Europe.


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