...By Henry George for TDPel Media.
Rain Newton-Smith has taken over as the new director general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) amid a sexual misconduct scandal.
Newton-Smith is promising to “rebuild and reimagine” the CBI as it faces allegations of rape and sexual misconduct, and fights for survival.
The previous director, Tony Danker, claimed that he has been made a “fall guy” for the wider crisis.
The CBI has admitted to failing to fire staff who had sexually harassed female workers.
Apologies and a Plan to Rebuild
Rain Newton-Smith apologized for the CBI’s failings but still believes in the organization’s purpose.
She expressed regret for letting down the women who came forward to report sexual harassment, and hopes to reward their bravery by finding a better path forward.
The CBI’s President Brian McBride pledged to implement recommendations following an investigation by a law firm.
Criticism and Doubts Surrounding Newton-Smith
Some have questioned whether Newton-Smith is the right person to lead the organization through the scandal, given her previous executive board membership.
One long-serving financier, Baroness Morrissey, expressed doubts about Newton-Smith’s suitability, saying, “I’m sure she is wonderful in lots of respects, but it doesn’t quite cut the mustard if you’re trying to show that you’re embracing a new approach to all of this.”
Loss of Membership and Support
The CBI’s scandal has resulted in dozens of firms ending their membership or suspending any activity with the organization.
These firms include the City of London Corporation, John Lewis, BMW, Virgin Media O2, Aviva, Zurich, Phoenix Group, NatWest, Mastercard, B&Q owner Kingfisher, and ITV.
Rebuilding and Regaining Trust
Ann Francke, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute, suggests getting an external perspective to address the deep-seated issues that need changing.
Newton-Smith is optimistic about rebuilding the organization and regaining the trust of the CBI’s members, colleagues, and wider society.
She believes in the work of the CBI and its people, and is determined to lead the team through this challenging time.