The Confederation of British Industry has named former BBC and ITV director of strategy Carolyn Fairbairn as its new director general, replacing John Cridland who leaves in November.

The former media executive is the first woman to hold the director general position in the trade body’s 50 year history, which is Britain’s largest business lobby group representing 19,000 companies which employ around 7 million people.

In her new role she will work closely with CBI president-designate Paul Drechsler in ensuring the interests of British businesses of all sizes across the UK are represented in Whitehall, Brussels and internationally.

Fairbairn, currently holds a number of non-executive positions including with global outsourcer Capita, small cap manufacturer Vitec, Lloyds Banking Group, the Competition and Markets Authority and the UK Statistics Authority, and she has confirmed that she will step down from these roles when she takes up her position at the CBI, apart from remaining a trustee of the charity Marie Curie.

Commenting on her appointment, CBI president Sir Mike Rake said: “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 said: “I am delighted to be joining the CBI as Director-General. The CBI has an outstanding track record of championing the conditions that enable British businesses to flourish.

“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. Now perhaps more than ever, thriving British companies hold the key to the future prosperity of our country.”


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