CBI goes back to basics with new boss Tony Danker after years of Brexit wrangling

Tony Danker took a gamble when he left his established media industry career to head up a business ‘movement’ back in 2017.

Britain has plenty of industry groups and campaigns, so the appeal of launching a new one is not immediately obvious.

It is particularly tough to make a name lobbying for the amorphous concept of ‘productivity’.

But less than three years into his tenure as chief executive of Be the Business, he has been picked to head the Confederation of British Industry, the most high-profile corporate lobby group in the country.

Sir Charlie Mayfield, the former chairman of John Lewis who was the driving force behind the establishment of Be the Business, says Danker has the right qualities to lead.

“What drives Tony in a very meaningful way is his belief in the importance of business in society and the positive contribution businesses can make within society and to the economy,” says Sir Charlie, who hired Danker for his work on productivity at Harvard.

“He is passionate about taking practical steps which encourage and enable businesses to do more of that.”

He sees that as crucial to rebuild the nation from the pandemic. 

“In the first phase of the crisis it has been critical care workers very much on the front line. In the second phase, and the enduring phase, it is going to be business leaders,” he says.

“They are the people who create jobs, who determine the nature of those jobs and the opportunities within them.

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