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Confederation of British Industry

Confederation of British Industry
Abbreviation CBI
Motto The Voice of Business
Formation 1965
Legal status Royal Charter
Purpose British industry
Region served
Paul Drechsler
John Cridland
Main organ
CBI Council

The Confederation of British Industry is a UK business organisation, which in total speaks for 190,000 businesses,[1] made up of around 1,500 direct and 188,500 indirect members. There are 140 trade associations within the confederation who, alongside those direct members of the CBI, employ 7 million people, about one third of the UK private sector-employed workforce. The National Farmers' Union with its 55,000 members is the largest component of the 188,500 indirect members the CBI claims to speak for. The Country Land and Business association brings another 30,000 indirect members, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed 20,000 indirect members, the Freight Transport Association 13,000, the Federation of Master Builders 9,500 and the Road Haulage Association 8,100.

Members include companies, many universities and other public bodies as well as trade association members, from the perspective of their leadership.[2] Described by the Financial Times as "Britain's biggest business lobby group".[3] Incorporated by Royal Charter[4] its mission is to promote the conditions in which businesses of all sizes and sectors in the UK can compete and prosper for the benefit of all. Its membership includes FTSE 100, mid-caps, SMEs, privately owned businesses, trade associations, universities and other public bodies. The CBI has members in many sectors: agriculture, automotive, aerospace, construction, creative, education, financial services, IT, manufacturing, professional services, retail, transport, tourism and utilities.[5]


  • Role 1
  • Structure 2
  • History 3
  • Research 4
  • The Great Business Debate 5
  • Scottish independence referendum controversy 6
  • Organisation 7
    • Senior personnel 7.1
    • Directors-general since 1965 7.2
  • See also 8
  • External links 9
  • References 10


The CBI works to promote business interests by lobbying and advising governments, networking with other businesses and creating intelligence through analysis of government policies and compilation of statistics, both in the United Kingdom and internationally through their offices in Beijing, Brussels, New Delhi and Washington, D.C.[6]

It is the foremost

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  2. ^ PETER JENKINS, Industry chooses its leader: Shell executive head of CBI, The Guardian, 4 February 1965
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External links

See also

Directors-general since 1965

(Correct as of June 2015)[18]

Senior personnel


This will complicate the CBI's position on a future European referendum where it will have to transparently show its position is backed by a clear majority of its members both direct and indirect.

On 25 April, the CBI announced it would try to nullify its registration. An Electoral Commission spokesman said: "We have received representations from the CBI to deregister. We are currently considering whether this is possible under the relevant legislation and will make our reasoning public when we have reached a conclusion and informed the CBI of our decision." However, the chairman of [17]

The BBC announced on 24 April that it would also suspend its membership from 30 May until after the referendum on 18 September.[15][16]

As a result, 15 Scottish members (Scottish Enterprise, Visit Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, the Scottish Qualifications Authority, STV, the Law Society of Scotland, Aquamarine Power, Balhousie Care Group and the universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Strathclyde, Heriot Watt and Glasgow Caledonian) resigned from the organisation, while two others, Robert Gordon University and Dundee University, suspended their membership.

In April 2014, the CBI registered with the Electoral Commission as a backer of the campaign against Scottish independence.

Scottish independence referendum controversy

In September 2014, the CBI started The Great Business Debate campaign aimed at increasing public confidence in business. Survey data found that only around 50% of people in the UK think that business contributes positively to society and the campaign was initiated to play a part in increasing that figure. A website and social media channels have been set up to openly promote the contribution business makes whilst enabling people and organisations to give their opinions on this. It is planned that various events and other occurrences will take place across the UK as part of the campaign.[14]

The Great Business Debate

CBI policy is decided through consultation with its members – companies from all sectors and sizes of business across the UK are directly involved in the policy-making process. The CBI publishes numerous reports each year on a wide range of issues that of interest and relevance to its members. Recent campaigns include “Future Champions”,[10] promoting the contribution and role of mid-sized businesses and “Industrial Futures”,[11] looking at how government should intervene in the economy to promote growth. The CBI publishes ‘Business Voice’,[12] a monthly magazine for its membership and ‘Intelligence FIRST’,[13] an occasional publication providing strategic guidance for members on regulatory and economic change.

  • Procurement
  • London Business
  • Education and Skills
  • Absence

Occasional surveys include:

  • Industrial Trends
  • Distributive Trends
  • Service Sector
  • Financial Sector
  • SME Trends
  • Investment Intentions

The CBI conducts numerous surveys that are of particular use to its members and stakeholders. Research is available to the relevant sections of its membership. The CBI’s surveys are currently:[9]


The CBI opened an office in Brussels in 1971, to open up opportunities in Europe. International Offices have opened in Washington (2002), Beijing (2005) and New Delhi (2011).

The organisation was formed in 1965 out of a merger of the Federation of British Industries (known as FBI), the British Employers' Confederation and the National Association of British Manufacturers.


It has offices based in every region of the UK, including teams in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. In March 2014 it moved its headquarters from Centre Point, London, to offices in Cannon Place, above Cannon Street railway station in the City of London.[8]

The CBI is governed under its charter by the CBI Council, which is able to delegate many of its roles to the Chairmen’s Committee and Board. The Chairmen’s Committee is responsible for setting the direction of CBI policy and proposing candidates for Chairman and Deputy Chairman. The CBI Board is responsible for operational and financial matters. The president chairs both the Chairmen's Committee and the CBI Board. A President's Committee, made up of members, advises the president. The president, with the approval of the Chairmen's Committee (under its delegated powers), appoints the director-general, who is responsible for the management of the CBI.[4]

The present Director-General is John Cridland, former Deputy Director General, who assumed the role in January 2011. He replaced Richard Lambert, who was formerly the editor of the Financial Times and member of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee.



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