AA chief executive Chris Jansen resigns

Exit Sign

The AA's chief executive has been squeezed out of the company just two months after the motoring group floated on the stock market.

Chris Jansen has resigned from the board and will leave the AA in the next few days after handing over to the executive chairman, Bob Mackenzie. Jansen will be followed by Andy Boland, the finance director, who stays on the board for now.

Jansen joined in January from British Gas, when the AA's private equity owners were preparing to sell the business. But in June the firm announced that Mackenzie, a former boss of rival breakdown service Green Flag, had gained the support of big City investors to bring in his own team to run the AA once it had floated.

Jansen said at the time of the £1.2bn flotation that Mackenzie was an "elder statesman" who he was looking forward to working with. But Mackenzie has now taken control in what the company said was an amicable arrangement.

Jansen said: "I was appointed by the previous private equity owners to improve the business and to enable a change of ownership to take place. Bob and his executive colleagues did a great job raising the finance to acquire the business and as a result my role has now changed substantially. I have therefore agreed with Bob to find a new executive opportunity outside the AA."

Jansen will be paid his £600,000 annual salary. He also owns 800,000 AA shares, worth £2.2m, which he bought.

The decision to allow Mackenzie to run the company as executive chairman could prove unpopular with some shareholders. Corporate governance standards require the jobs of chairman and chief executive to be split unless a company can give a good reason for not doing so.

The AA is looking to recruit more non-executive directors, including a senior independent director, to hold Mackenzie and his team to account. Another chief executive could be appointed in due course but Mackenzie intends to remain as executive chairman.

Mackenzie said: "When the management buy-in team acquired the business, backed by many leading institutional investors, we knew that this would create change at the AA. We wish Chris all the best and we are certain he will secure a new and equally significant role in the future."

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Sean Farrell, for theguardian.com on Thursday 28th August 2014 11.03 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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