Business World

Tuesday 20 February 2018

AA appoints permanent chief executive

Simon Breakwell has been appointed as permanent chief executive of the AA
Simon Breakwell has been appointed as permanent chief executive of the AA

Ravender Sembhy

The British motoring group The AA has appointed Simon Breakwell as permanent chief executive after a blazing board-level row led to the dismissal of executive chairman Bob Mackenzie last month.

Mr Breakwell has been in the role of acting chief executive since August 1, when the roadside assistance firm announced the immediate departure of Mr Mackenzie for gross misconduct.

Reports later emerged that his dismissal was linked to an attempted spin-off of AA's insurance arm, which led to a physical altercation between Mr Mackenzie, who was thought to be opposed to the idea, and insurance chief Michael Lloyd.

Mr Breakwell said: "I am delighted to be appointed CEO of this great company.

"As a member of the board since September 2014, I have had time enough to recognise that it is indeed a great company with enormous strength at a fundamental level.

"A huge amount has also been done since the IPO to improve its performance and create a platform upon which to grow."

The new boss is also conducting a review of the business and his formal appointment comes alongside a raft of senior management changes.

John Leach will become chairman, Andrew Blowers is appointed senior independent director and Suzi Williams has taken over from Mr Breakwell as chair of the remuneration committee.

AA made the announcements alongside its half year results, which saw pre-tax profits rise 67pc to £80m in the six months to July 31.

Operating profit rose 35pc to £178m as the firm was helped by a 13pc increase in new members, with its total membership numbers now standing at 3.32 million.

Motor insurance policy numbers in the UK grew 8pc to 616,000.

Trading revenue nudged up 1pc to £471m, which the AA said reflected growth in insurance broking and underwriting.

The firm said that full year earnings are expected to come in between £390m and £395m.

Press Association

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