Tony Danker has been “dismissed with immediate effect” as head of the CBI following an investigation into workplace misconduct.
It comes after the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Britain’s biggest trade body, launched an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.
Danker stepped aside as director general amid allegations of misconduct in March, while three other CBI employees are also now suspended pending further investigation.
The group has also said it is “liaising with the police” and that it would “co-operate fully with any police investigations”.
Last week organisations began revising their membership, with Adnams brewery in discussions to leave.
The CBI Board said: “Tony Danker is dismissed with immediate effect following the independent investigation into specific complaints of workplace misconduct against him.”
Their statement continued: “The Board wishes to make clear he is not the subject of any of the more recent allegations in the Guardian but has determined that his own conduct fell short of that expected of the director general.
“Three other CBI employees are now suspended pending further investigation into a number of ongoing allegations.”
Responding on Twitter, Danker wrote: “I recognise the intense publicity the CBI has suffered following the revelations of awful events that occurred before my time in office. I was appalled to learn about them for the first time last week.
“I was nevertheless shocked to learn this morning that I had been dismissed from the CBI, instead of being invited to put my position forward as was originally confirmed.”
He continued: “Many of the allegations against me have been distorted, but I recognise that I unintentionally made a number of colleagues feel uncomfortable and I am truly sorry about that. I want to wish my former CBI colleagues every success.”
Rain Newton-Smith, former CBI chief economist, will rejoin the CBI as director general, the organisation has said. She is currently a managing director at Barclays.
Newton-Smith said: “It’s a huge privilege to be asked to return to the CBI to serve as its director-general. I passionately believe in the power of business to transform our society.”
She added: “I want the CBI to be an organisation of which we can all be proud.
“I am grateful and determined to lead the team through this challenging time. I look forward to working with the team, our members and stakeholders as we work together to achieve sustainable growth.”
Brian McBride, CBI president, said he was “delighted” by the appointment, adding: “Rain is well-known and highly respected at the CBI, and by its membership.
“She is the right leader for the organisation, possessing deep knowledge of the challenges facing businesses who are trying to grow in these challenging economic times.
“I have every confidence that she will provide the clear-sighted leadership that the CBI and UK business needs.”
A Downing Street spokesman said the government’s engagement with the CBI would be on hold while the investigation was conducted, the BBC reported.
They added: “We continue to expect any allegations to be taken seriously and for appropriate action to be taken in response.”
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “Obviously what is happening at the CBI is incredibly concerning.
“And it’s important that these reviews are able to take their course. Labour, like the government, have cut our ties and are not currently doing any engagement with the CBI whilst these enquiries are ongoing.”
A Treasury spokesperson said the department’s position on pausing engagement with the CBI had not changed.
More to follow.