Former No 10 Policy Unit member Carolyn Fairbairn to lead CBI

Carolyn Fairbairn, who is to become director general of the CBI.

Carolyn Fairbairn, who is to become director general of the CBI. - Credit: Archant

A former member of the Number 10 Policy Unit is to become director general of the CBI.

Carolyn Fairbairn, 54, who has worked as a journalist, economist and management consultant, will take over from John Cridland in November.

She holds a number of non-executive directorships with firms including Capita and Lloyds Banking Group as well as roles with the Competition and Markets Authority and the UK Statistics Authority.

She will step down from these roles, but will remaining a trustee of the charity Marie Curie.

Ms Fairbairn is a former director of strategy at both the BBC and ITV and was a member of Number 10’s Policy Unit, advising on health and social services between 1995 and 1997.

CBI president Sir Mike Rake said: “Carolyn is a remarkable business leader with an impressive background as an economist, journalist, management consultant and policy strategist.

“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.

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“She will take over the reins from John in November and will lead a formidable team at the CBI.”

Ms Fairbairn said: “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.”

There were 46 candidates for the job, with a final short-list of six.