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New business leader

Former Treasury adviser to take helm at CBI

Tony Danker

Tony Danker: vital work (pic: BtB)

A former Treasury adviser who has spent the last three years trying to tackle Britain’s poor productivity record is to become the next head of Britain’s biggest business lobby group.

Tony Danker, chief executive of Be The Business, will succeed Dame Carolyn Fairbairn as director general of the CBI.

In 2017 Mr Danker was appointed the first CEO of BtB, the business movement founded by a group of FTSE-100 chairmen and the Chancellor.

Dame 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 organisation during the current crisis. 

Under her leadership, the CBI is working closely with the Government to ensure 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. 

Mr Danker 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. 

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On his appointment he 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.”

Outgoing president of the CBI, John Allan, 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.”

Carolyn Fairbairn

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn addressing a business lunch in Edinburgh (pic: Terry Murden)

Dame Carolyn 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 Mr Allan. 

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 Mr Danker was appointed the first CEO of Be the Business, the business movement founded by a group of FTSE-100 chairmen and the Chancellor.

Mr Danker has built the organisation from scratch, now reaching tens of thousands of firms every month with over 5,000 SME leaders participating in its programmes and dozens of leading UK companies forming partnerships with Be the Business.

From 2010-2017 he 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 to the Government (2008-10), joining the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury. He 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.

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