A slew of top firms including Aviva and Phoenix have terminated membership of the CBI today after the business lobbying group was hit by new allegations of sexual abuse.
FTSE 100 insurer Aviva and Phoenix Group said separately that following new allegations of rape they had resigned from membership with immediate effect.
“In light of the very serious allegations made, and the CBI’s handling of the process and response, we believe the CBI is no longer able to fulfil its core function – to be a representative voice of business in the UK,” a spokesperson for Aviva said. “We have therefore regrettably terminated our membership with immediate effect.”
A spokesperson for Phoenix said: “Further to the allegations reported this morning, we have taken the decision to resign our membership of the CBI with immediate effect.”
The two firms were joined by insurer Zurich UK which said it was “deeply concerned about the allegations” and had terminated its membership from today.
After the exodus of insurers, the industry’s trade body the Association of British Insurers said it had also now quit its membership of the group.
“It has become untenable to retain our membership in light of further serious allegations and we have informed the CBI of our decision to leave with immediate effect,” a spokesperson for the body said.
The CBI, the UK’s biggest business lobbying group, has been rocked by allegations of rape and sexual harassment in recent weeks. The group announced yesterday that it had passed new information to the police after a “report of a criminal offence”.
The CBI is now facing a potential exodus from some of the UK’s top firms when an investigation into allegations of rape and sexual misconduct concludes.
News of Aviva’s withdrawal comes after asset manager Abrdn was reported to be mulling its position with the CBI, Sky News reported.
A spokesperson for Abrdn told City A.M.: “Like other members, we await the outcome of the current review, and look forward to understanding the CBI’s plans for dealing with the issues that have emerged.”
The National Grid and Shell are also understood to have suspended engagement with the body, with National Grid saying it was currently reviewing its membership.
The CBI dismissed director general Tony Danker after complaints were raised over his own misconduct towards staff. Danker told the BBC this week he had been “thrown under the bus” however, as the most serious allegations took place before his tenure.
The CBI said today that a report from law firm Fox Williams on the matters was expected “imminently”.
“The board will be communicating its response to this and other steps we are taking to bring about the wider change that is needed early next week,” the CBI said.