Bibby Line boss Paul Drechsler to succeed Mike Rake as president of the CBI

Jessica Morris
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The CBI's previous top candidate was former Diageo boss Paul Walsh, but he withdrew after he signed a letter supporting the Conservative party (Source: Getty)

Paul Drechsler has succeeded Mike Rake as president of Britain's leading employers group the CBI, according to an announcement today.

Read more: CBI job at risk after Walsh signs Conservative letter

"This is a critically important time for the economy with plenty of challenges ahead. I look forward to continuing Sir Mike’s excellent work with CBI members and politicians to boost jobs and growth across all UK businesses, regions and nations," Drechsler said.

"The coming months will be dominated by the prospect of an EU referendum and my focus will be on working with businesses and the government to champion ambitious reform to ensure the EU delivers for businesses and citizens at home and on the Continent."

The CBI dropped its previous preferred candidate former Diageo chief exec Paul Walsh after he signed a letter in support of the Conservative party in the General Election in May.

Walsh has previously donated to the Conservative party, and has also appeared at Davos with Prime Minister David Cameron, However, the CBI job is supposed to be non-political.

Drechsler is currently chairman of the Liverpool-based marine and shipping company Bibby Line Group.

Before that he had been chief executive of the privately-owned construction firm Wates Group.

He's sat on the CBI board since 2012 and was chairman of the CBI energy policy committee between 2007 and 2012 and a member of the chairman’s committee.

"Paul brings with him an impressive breadth of experience of leading companies of all sizes across varied sectors operating internationally and domestically, and of public companies and privately-owned firms," Sir Mike Rake said.

"He combines this with a passion and a drive to ensure that business is recognised as a force for good and at the heart of the community."

"Paul is a fantastic advocate for businesses of all sizes and will play a vital role in continuing to ensure the CBI’s voice is heard loud and clear on the economic and political issues that affect growth and jobs, including reform of the European Union and devolution."

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