Abuse crisis

‘CBI will come back better,’ says Scotland chief

Tracy Black

Tracy Black: ‘very difficult time’

CBI Scotland director Tracy Black has spoken of her determination to help the organisation recover from its recent abuse scandal.

Ms Black admitted that recent events, which have seen a number of staff leave, including the director general, have been “a very difficult time”.

She said: “Not once, did I think in 2023, we would be the focus of a crisis, and it would be us that failed our people. It has taken incredible courage for the women to speak out. “

While stressing that none of the CBI Scotland team have been involved in any way in the issues reported, she said that “as a female leader, I cannot fully express my sense of hurt at the allegations to have emerged in recent weeks.

“It is clear, though, complacency can never be allowed to set in. We have to regroup and come back better.”

Ms Black made her comments as the CBI’s former chief economist Rain Newton-Smith returned to replace sacked DG Tony Danker and begin the task of rebuilding the organisation.

Some have cast doubt on its ability to recover from the allegations, including rape, that have led to an investigation and a series of apologies from the president Brian McBride who has also expressed his commitment to repairing the damage.

Rain Newton-Smith

Rain Newton-Smith: Restoration job

Ms Black said she had been inspired by her first meeting with former DG Dame Carolyn Fairbairn who “had a clear purpose and created a place where you were kind to colleagues, and women could lead”.

She added: “Since Dame Carolyn appointed me CBI Scotland director six years ago, I have represented business with the support of a most amazing team and committed members.”

The CBI must do everything to win back trust, said Ms Black. “I am committed to making this moment a catalyst for change – and I stand fully behind Rain Newton-Smith.

“We owe it to the brilliant, principled CBI people – people that come into work every day, driven to go above and beyond and deliver success – to get on with that important work.

“Their light has dimmed in recent weeks through no fault of their own, and it is up to us, as leaders, to make it shine again. That will not happen if we let the CBI crumble. That will not happen if we cast aside their excellent work, from decarbonisation to health to net zero and future skills.

“While the organisation does need to implement important changes, we also cannot forget what brought us to the CBI: to advocate tirelessly for our members and champion the role of business across the UK and beyond.

“I am absolutely convinced the CBI’s core offering of bringing together businesses of all sizes, sectors and across every part of the country, is unique and needed more than ever.”

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