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CBI finalises plans for crucial vote on business group’s future

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Scores of companies who have suspended their membership of the CBI will be allowed to vote on the business lobby group’s future at a crucial meeting next month.

It is understood that the CBI will permit companies including AstraZeneca, BP, Marks & Spencer, Rolls-Royce Holdings and PricewaterhouseCoopers to participate in a ballot on 6 June.

Sources said that CBI members would be issued with a prospectus next week to set out the agenda for its extraordinary general meeting (EGM) and its blueprint for a renaissance after the misconduct scandal which has thrown its survival into doubt.

Dozens of members – including Aviva, John Lewis Partnership, Kingfisher and NatWest Group – cancelled their subscriptions to the CBI last month and will not be eligible to vote on its future.

The poll will be conducted on a ‘one member, one vote’ basis, regardless of a company’s size or subscription fee.

Insiders said on Thursday that the group was drawing up proposals for a slimmed-down organisation that would inevitably result in some redundancies among its workforce.

The CBI sacked its director-general, Tony Danker, last month, saying it no longer had confidence in his ability to lead it amid allegations of personal misconduct.

Far graver claims, including in relation to serious sexual assault by CBI employees against colleagues, do not relate to Mr Danker.

Rain Newton-Smith (pictured), Mr Danker’s successor, has vowed to lead the CBI’s rebirth, and has said it is likely to involve changing the group’s name.

The scandal has also ensnared the CBI’s former president, John Allan, who acknowledged making an inappropriate comment to a colleague and has since stepped down early as chair of Tesco and Barratt Developments amid allegations – which he strongly denies – about his behaviour.

The CBI declined to comment on Thursday.

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