Three people have resigned from the Institute of Directors (IoD) after a report claimed staff had been subjected to bullying.
Lady Barbara Judge had already been formally suspended after the report alleged she made derogatory remarks.
Alongside the former chairwoman, deputy chairman Kenneth Olisa and fellow non-executive member Arnold Wagner have also stepped aside from the board.
The resignations, announced on Friday, were hailed as a “victory for ordinary staff members” who had come forward to make complaints.
IoD director general Stephen Martin said: “This is a victory for ordinary staff members, who had the courage to risk jeopardising their careers, to speak out and make complaints about the conduct and language of people in very senior positions.”
He also described it as a victory for “good governance”, praising the human resources department for ensuring the complaints were looked at through an independent process.
He added: “Today marks the start of a new era for the IoD where we are freed to focus on modernisation, where we are able to share our learnings from this difficult challenge with other companies across the country who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances. The new IoD will strive to be even more supportive and collaborative, reflecting the culture of its courageous staff members.”
Lady Judge earlier said she had “voluntarily decided to step aside temporarily from my role as chair and contest these allegations and the flawed process conducted so far”.
It is understood the report, commissioned by the IoD and compiled by law firm Hill Dickinson, claimed Lady Judge bullied staff and suggested black people “can get aggressive”.
After a long career in law and banking, Lady Judge became the IoD’s first female chair in 2015.
The IoD is a business organisation for company directors and other senior business leaders and entrepreneurs.