AA ‘brawl’ boss may lose £100m in shares

Ex-ex­ec­u­tive chair­man could lose shares af­ter ‘Clark­son mo­ment’ wiped £200m off firm’s value

The Daily Telegraph - - Front page - By Steve Bird and Christo­pher Wil­liams

The for­mer ex­ec­u­tive chair­man of the AA who was sacked af­ter a “Jeremy Clark­son- style bust-up” with a col­league faces los­ing share op­tions worth nearly £100mil­lion. Bob Macken­zie, 64, was in line for a mas­sive pay­out if the com­pany hit a se­ries of an­nual tar­gets. But his dis­missal for gross mis­con­duct on Tues­day means the AA can now strip him of the 33 mil­lion per­for­mancere­lated shares he was given when he floated the com­pany two years ago. Those shares could have been worth up to £95 mil­lion.

THE FOR­MER ex­ec­u­tive chair­man of the AA who was sacked af­ter a “Jeremy Clark­son-style bust-up” with a col­league faces los­ing share op­tions worth nearly £100 mil­lion.

Bob Macken­zie, 64, was in line for a mas­sive pay­out if the com­pany hit a se­ries of an­nual tar­gets.

But his dis­missal for gross mis­con­duct on Tues­day means the AA can strip him of the 33 mil­lion per­for­mance-re­lated shares he was given when he floated the com­pany on the stock ex­change two years ago. Those shares could have been worth up to £95 mil­lion if the AA’S mar­ket value reached set lev­els over the next few years. Mr Macken­zie may now only re­ceive a nom­i­nal one pence in re­turn for that stock fol­low­ing his sack­ing.

The so-called “man­age­ment value par­tic­i­pa­tion” shares were handed to a num­ber of bosses to give them an in­cen­tive to boost the AA’S per­for­mance. How­ever, the an­nounce­ment that Mr Macken­zie had been dis­missed af­ter lash­ing out at a male col­league at a ho­tel bar caused £200 mil­lion to be wiped from the com­pany’s value.

The busi­ness­man’s son, Pe­ter, is­sued a state­ment say­ing that his 64-year-old fa­ther had been “acutely ill” and was in hos­pi­tal with an “ex­tremely dis­tress­ing men­tal health issue”.

He de­nied the sug­ges­tion his fa­ther had been sacked, in­stead in­sist­ing that he had re­signed on Tues­day af­ter a clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist ad­vised him he needed to take time off work.

The state­ment added that the fam­ily “trusts all par­ties will act re­spon­si­bly to­wards a loyal ser­vant of the com­pany in a man­ner which re­flects the stress he has been suf­fer­ing”. His de­par­ture fol­lowed what one fam­ily friend de­scribed as a “Jeremy Clark­son mo­ment” – a ref­er­ence to how the for­mer Top Gear pre­sen­ter was sacked in 2015 for at­tack­ing a BBC pro­ducer at a ho­tel.

For Mr Macken­zie to have been el­i­gi­ble for the pay­out, he and the other ex­ec­u­tives were re­quired to gen­er­ate a 12 per cent an­nual re­turn for in­vestors over five years. How­ever, a clause in the con­tract deal­ing with th­ese special op­tions refers to how the AA can “ac­quire all of his man­age­ment value par­tic­i­pa­tion shares” if they be­come “bad leavers” who are dis­missed.

An AA source said sack­ing for “gross mis­con­duct” was a clear ex­am­ple of a so-called “bad leaver”.

A com­pany spokesman re­fused to say if Mr Macken­zie would be stripped of his 33mil­lion shares.

Ac­cord­ing to the AA’S lat­est an­nual re­port, Mr Macken­zie was paid £1.36mil­lion a year, which in­cluded a ba­sic salary of £750,000. He had bought 875,000 AA shares of his own that are separate to the per­for­mancere­lated scheme. The mar­ried fa­ther-of­five has homes in west Lon­don and in a small, pic­turesque vil­lage near Ke­nil­worth in War­wick­shire. He was un­avail­able for com­ment yes­ter­day.

Bob Macken­zie, for­mer ex­ec­u­tive chair­man of the AA, pic­tured with his wife Jane on hol­i­day in 2016, was sacked on Tues­day

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