Institute of Directors’ chair steps aside amid racism and bullying claims

The chair of one of Britain’s most influential business groups has temporarily stepped aside amid an investigation into alleged bullying and racist comments she allegedly made about staff.

Barbara Judge, 71, chair of the Institute of Directors, is facing 41 allegations, which also include sexism, according to the Times.

Judge told the Times last night that she had “voluntarily decided to step aside temporarily from my role as chair and contest these allegations and the flawed process conducted so far”.

She said the investigation had not given her the opportunity to respond to the claims.

The IoD said a a “full investigation” had been commissioned by Dame Joan Stringer, its senior independent council member, after its human resources department was “made aware of a number of allegations from staff members concerning the conduct of non-executive members of our board”.

The inquiry was conducted by Hill Dickinson, the law firm. The report and its findings will be discussed at an IoD council meeting on Thursday afternoon.

The draft report, according to the Times, found that Lady Judge made racist statements about staff, such as “blacks can get aggressive”. She is also alleged to have bullied her assistant and reduced her to tears on several occasions.

Lady Judge, a New York-born former banker and former chair of the UK’s Pension Protection Fund, became the IoD’s first female chair in 2015.