'I never propositioned anybody': Sacked CBI boss Tony Danker says reputation 'totally destroyed'

19 April 2023, 09:11

Former boss of business group giant CBI Tony Danker
Former boss of business group giant CBI Tony Danker. Picture: Alamy/BBC
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

The recently-sacked boss of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) says his "reputation has been totally destroyed" after he was fired following sexual misconduct allegations.

Tony Danker, who was director-general of the CBI from November 2020 to March 2023, admitted that his behaviour made some staff feel "very uncomfortable" and apologised.

But he has defended his name against sexual misconduct allegations, saying he has been wrongly associated with rape claims.

Mr Danker says his former employer's version of events was "selective" and says he was sacked for the following reasons:

  • Organising a secret karaoke party for 15 people after a work event
  • Viewing staff Instagram accounts
  • Messaging staff about non-work related topics on work platforms
  • Hosting one-on-one lunches with junior staff

CBI says Mr Danker was sacked on legal grounds.

Former CBI boss Tony Danker
Former CBI boss Tony Danker. Picture: Getty

While accepting that his behaviour may have made some staff members feel uncomfortable, he says he has been positioned as a "fall guy".

"I have never used sexually suggestive language with people at the CBI. You know, there was an incident somebody raised a complaint about unwanted contact, which was verbal contact," he told the BBC.

"There was never any physical contact. I've never had any physical contact. I've never used any sexual language. I've never propositioned anybody," Mr Danker said.

Tony Danker was sacked in March 2023
Tony Danker was sacked in March 2023. Picture: Getty

The ex-CBI boss also admitted to viewing the Instagram profiles of a number of CBI staff, "men and women".

"The CBI already knew that some people thought that that was intrusive, and I get that," he added.

"I get that people felt that it was wrong, that I was looking at their admittedly completely public Instagram stories", he said.

Mr Danker now says he is considering legal action, but does not want to sue his former employer.