CBI chief questions 'corny' Cable

Richard Lambert sums up his final conference as CBI director-general
Richard Lambert sums up his final conference as CBI director-general

By Alex Stevenson

Vince Cable's concerns about short-termism in corporate governance are "corny", the director-general of the CBI has told politics.co.uk.

A review on corporate governance and short-termism begun today will assess whether boards understand the long-term implications of takeovers, the implications of the changing nature of UK share ownership and whether disclosure of directors' pay should be more transparent.

"It should produce a rounded account of the issues that may be causing a dislocation between what is best for the ultimate owners, the incentives of their agents and what is best for managers," the business secretary said.

Richard Lambert, who for the last four years has been the premier spokesperson for the interests of British businesses, told politics.co.uk Dr Cable had made a "pretty good case" for reforming to suit the global economy better.

"I think questions about short-termism are legitimate," he said.

"They're all a bit corny, we've heard them all before over the years, so we'll have to come up with some original thinking."

Earlier Mr Lambert's final conference in charge of the CBI heard from prime minister David Cameron and new Labour leader Ed Miliband.

He praised Mr Cameron for moving the debate on from cuts to growth.

"In a sense it's all about confidence now," he said.

"There's nothing the government can or should be doing in the way of any kind of more stimulus, or whatever, so it's about setting in train feelings of confidence about the way the economy's going forward. And doing whatever can be done to remove any barriers to job creation."

Mr Miliband received a less positive welcome from conference delegates than the prime minister, but Mr Lambert declines to criticise him openly.

"I think that he's five weeks in the job, he doesn't have to produce a policy manifesto," he said.

"My take was more positive. He said that New Labour under Blair built a new relationship between Labour and business and he was determined to maintain that."

Mr Lambert added: "I was interested that nobody in the audience asked him about trade unions, so they can't be that concerned."


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