AA ‘brawl’ boss may lose £100m in shares
Ex-executive chairman could lose shares after ‘Clarkson moment’ wiped £200m off firm’s value
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