EU referendum: FTSE 100 bosses back EU membership as public support for a Brexit soars

Clara Guibourg
Follow Clara
Prime Minister David Cameron Tries To Take A Harder Line with Europe
EU membership support “remains strong at the highest levels of British business” (Source: Getty)

Top UK bosses are increasingly favour remaining in the European Union, a new survey of the FTSE 100’s chairmen shows.

Four in 10 leaders of the UK’s most powerful companies want Britain to remain a part of the union unconditionally, while just over half, 52 per cent, backed staying if some aspects of the relationship were renegotiated. The figures come from Boardroom Pulse, a poll of FTSE 100 chairmen conducted by consultancy Korn Ferry.

Just nine per cent said they wanted the UK to leave the EU.

Lucy Thomas, the deputy director of pro-EU campaign group Britain Stronger In Europe, was unsurprised by the results:

This shows that the closer we get to the referendum, the clearer the choice becomes between staying in the world’s largest single market and walking away.

British business knows that being in Europe supports jobs, investment and exports, and that leaving would be a leap into the dark of tariffs, trade barriers and red tape.

The latest survey shows support for remaining in the EU soaring, up sharply from a year ago, when only 15 per cent backed staying unconditionally.

Dominic Schofield, senior client partner at Korn Ferry, said EU membership support “remains strong at the highest levels of British business”.

The survey also queried FTSE chairmen on the issue of boardroom diversity, and found most were “extremely positive” about the impact of greater female representation, as Schofield said:

Some made the point that increased female representation on boards is providing more role models for women further down the company structure, which is encouraging.

FTSE boards may be backing EU membership, but the findings fly in the face of public opinion, as the public’s support for Brexit has soared to its highest point since 2012.

A recent report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) found staying in the EU could add £58bn to the UK economy by 2030.

Related articles