CBI appoints Carolyn Fairbairn as director general

The Confederation of British Industries has appointed Carolyn Fairbairn as director general, replacing John Cridland who announced he was leaving in March.

Before starting her role at CBI in November, Fairbairn will stand down as a non-executive director of global outsourcer Capita.

Fairbairn, who will work with CBI president designate Paul Drechsler, was selected from a list of 46 candidates and a final shortlist of six before being endorsed by the CBI’s chairmen’s committee.

CBI president Sir Mike Rake, says: “Carolyn is a remarkable business leader with an impressive background as an economist, journalist, management consultant and policy strategist. This includes being a member of the Prime Minister’s Downing Street Policy Unit and holding senior roles at the BBC and ITV. 

“Carolyn’s CV speaks for itself. Her wealth and breadth of experience will be critical in steering the CBI through choppy political and economic waters, including an EU referendum.”

Fairbairn says: “The debate around Britain’s relationship with the European Union and the productivity challenge facing our economy will be two of the defining issues of the next few years, and I greatly look forward to representing the voice of British businesses of all sizes on these questions and many others.”

Exiting Cridland has recently urged David Cameron not to hold a referendum before 2017, the FT reports.

He said: “I’m not in favour of an early referendum before we have the reform we need to be able to demonstrate to British business and the British public that we should stay in a reformed EU.”

Cridland joined the CBI as a policy adviser in 1982 and is the first ever internal candidate to be appointed director general.