Thursday, July 19, 2018
Business

Kicking off: AA’s war of words rolls on

Former AA boss Bob Mackenzie has found himself in the spotlight once again, following allegations that he hushed up a street fight which left him unable to deliver presentations to major City investors.

The legal battle between Mackenzie and the roadside assistance giant ramped up yesterday after court filings of the AAs defence were revealed by Sky News.

Mackenzie and the AA are locked in a £225m High Court battle – one that threatens to upend the firms turnaround plan. The AAs ex-chairman is suing his former employer after he was sensationally fired last summer.

The AA claims he launched a “sustained and violent attack” on another AA exec during a company away day at a plush Surrey hotel. In April, Mackenzie launched another lawsuit against a woman who claimed the 65-year-old had punched her in the face during a separate altercation in 2016. Mackenzie broke his ankle during the alleged fight on Bermondsey street. The AAs defence team claimed Mackenzie asked his driver to conceal details about his leg injury – one which left him unable to meet key investors such as HSBC and Henderson.

Read more: AA report says car insurance premiums cheaper than a year ago

Mackenzie “never disclosed the details of the incident or the police interview or the risk of prosecution to the [AA board],” according to the AAs court filings.

But a spokesman for the Mackenzie family hit back, saying the reports were “yet another trumped up story and further proof of the AAs vindictiveness in its pursuit of a respected company servant who is simply seeking fair treatment”.

“As an example of corporate bullying, this sets a new standard. Others will judge whether it is appropriate for an organisation that was once considered the fourth emergency service to behave in this way.”

Read more: AA looks to get back on track with positive full-year results

Millions of pounds have been wiped off the stock market value of the AA since Mackenzies departure.

This prompted a sell-off that has led some investors to question whether the AA, laden with almost £3bn of debt, can be turned around.

Shares have rallied in recent weeks after it averted a credit downgrade .

The firm has set aside £1m to fight Mackenzies claims but refused to make a provision against £225m damages sought by its former chairman.

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