Sunday 26 May 2019 12:20 pm

Cobra Beer founder Lord Bilimoria set to be appointed next CBI president

Reporter at City A.M. covering banking, markets and insurance

Reporter at City A.M. covering banking, markets and insurance

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Cobra Beer founder and second referendum backer Lord Bilimoria is the leading candidate to become the next president of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

The entrepreneur has been lined up to replace Tesco chairman John Allan at the helm of the influential business lobbying group, Sky News reported.

Read more: Cobra's Lord Karan Bilimoria talks curry and craft beer

The crossbench peer, who founded Cobra Beer from a flat in Fulham in 1989, would become the first British Asian to lead the CBI.

CBI presidents typically serve a two-year term with a year as vice-president either side of their presidency.

The group confirmed today that Bilimoria would be standing for election as the new vice-president at its annual meeting on 18 June, replacing outgoing vice-president Paul Dreschler.

Bilimoria has publicly backed a second EU referendum and has described Brexit as an “unmitigated disaster.”

His Brexit views could clash with those CBI members eager for the UK to leave the EU in the coming months.

Before Theresa May’s resignation, Allan, whose two-year term comes to an end next summer, urged MPs to “do whatever it takes and do it fast” to break the Brexit deadlock.

Speaking at the CBI annual dinner he said: “It's not for business leaders to tell politicians when to trigger democratic events.

"But be in no doubt political failure today means economic failure tomorrow.

Read more: Cobra boss Lord Karan Bilimoria slams May's immigration policy

"We need to find a way through."

After May announced her departure plan, the CBI called for MPs to use her exit as a “catalyst for change” to bring about compromise and consensus in Parliament.

CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn said: "Lord Bilimoria has had a remarkable career in British business, during which he has built a deep understanding what it takes to build a successful company.

"At such a critical time for the country, Lord Bilimoria’s wealth of experience will prove invaluable to the CBI and the UK business community.”

Allan said: "After a rigorous recruitment process, we are delighted that Lord Bilimoria will be standing for election as Vice-President.

"He will bring his own energy, insight and political nous to the role and we all look forward to working closely with him."