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The Confederation of British Industry has postponed its annual general meeting due to take place on Wednesday, the latest twist in the existential crisis engulfing Britain’s largest business lobby group.

According to people familiar with the matter, the group has been hoping to obtain 3 million pounds of funds from bank loans and member donations before the annual general meeting to tide over the difficulties in early 2024.

Instead, the Confederation of British Industry told members on Tuesday it was facing “short-term cash flow challenges” due to the loss of business members after the organization was hit by sexual misconduct allegations earlier this year.

Membership revenue was significantly reduced following the claims, leaving the organization struggling for survival and teetering on the edge of collapse. Members leaving include Aviva, BP, Drax, KPMG, Tesco and NatWest.

The CBI told members: “We are in active dialogue to finalize the funding package and believe we will be able to resolve this short-term issue and ensure the organization remains in a strong position over the medium to long term.”

“But given the current strong interest in CBI, we are opening up and refocusing on our previously planned AGM.”

CBI officials said they would provide “as complete an update as possible” to members on Wednesday rather than hold a formal meeting. It is unclear whether current director-general Wren Newton-Smith will present the organization’s annual report and accounts.

A source familiar with the matter said the group was close to its target of raising £3m but was still appealing for funds. More than half of the cash is expected to come from banks, the person added.

Under the CBI’s “Amended Supplementary Constitution” members would be responsible for paying the group’s debts and liabilities if the organization was wound up. This is true even if they suspend membership.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has been in discussions with engineering lobby group Make UK over a potential merger for several months.

However, talks cannot be concluded until the CBI disengages from its pension scheme, likely through an agreement with an insurance company, according to people familiar with the matter.

Allegations of sexual misconduct against the CBI, first published by The Guardian, include allegations of rape and a toxic working environment at the organization.


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