IoD suspends chair after conduct investigation

The Institute of Directors says it has suspended its chair, Lady Barbara Judge, after a conduct investigation.
It announced the decision following a reportedly rancorous meeting of the business group in the wake of a months-long investigation by law firm Hill Dickinson, following allegations by a whistleblower.
Lady Judge had already told The Times newspaper that she had voluntarily stepped aside temporarily as she contested the allegations and the "flawed process so far". The claims were discussed by the IoD council on Thursday.It said in a statement on Friday: "The council took the decision, having received the Hill Dickinson Executive Summary, to suspend the IoD chair pending further investigation into the matters raised and the process."Sky News first reported details of the boardroom coup against Lady Judge earlier this week.Stephen Martin, the body's chief executive, was said to have been one of the complainants against the chair.The Times reported that her alleged misconduct included racist and sexist slurs as well as bullying behaviour towards other IoD staff members.According to the Financial Times, Lady Judge was greeted in stony silence as she addressed the IoD council meeting on Thursday, accusing it of smearing her in public with highly damaging allegations.The bust-up is especially embarrassing for the IoD, which hails itself as a bastion of corporate governance and frequently criticises major companies for perceived failings by boards to manage themselves effectively.
The investigation into complaints against Lady Barbara is estimated to have cost more than €60,000, according to an email from one board director.In the report by Hill Dickinson, a copy of which has been seen by Sky News, a number of allegations are made against Lady ‎Judge, including that she sought to appoint close allies to the IoD board and used her role to promote her external commercial interests.A number of other IoD board directors are said to contest the conclusions and accuracy of aspects of the law firm's report.At least one is seeking the removal of Dame Joan Stringer, who chairs its governing council, according to a source close to the situation.Lady Judge is understood to have instructed the City law firm Addleshaw Goddard to represent her.
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Last month, it wrote to the IoD to accuse it of an "utterly flawed and prejudicial handling of this whole matter", according to a letter seen by Sky News.The body is one of Britain's most important business organisations, with tens of thousands of members and an influential voice on issues ranging from Brexit to skills and education.
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