The previous boss of the AA hid his involvement in a avenue brawl with a member of the general public to stop the lack of profitable bonuses, based on a authorized doc filed by the breakdown restoration service.
Sky Information has obtained a replica of the defence filed on the Excessive Courtroom final week by the AA – the newest salvo in an more and more bitter authorized combat involving the corporate and Bob Mackenzie, who was ousted as its government chairman final yr.
The doc alleges that Mr Mackenzie requested his firm driver to lie in regards to the circumstances wherein he broke his ankle throughout an altercation in London in September 2016, inflicting him to overlook shows with main Metropolis traders HSBC and Henderson Group.
In accordance with the AA’s defence, Mr Mackenzie “by no means disclosed the small print of the incident or the police interview or the chance of prosecution to the [AA board].”
The defence alleges: “The claimant’s determination to be untruthful, and to ask, instruct, or in any other case stress his driver to lie for him, was made as a result of he appreciated that his conduct would have an effect on his continued employment and/or bonus award.”
Mr Mackenzie was sacked for gross misconduct following a combat in a resort bar with one other AA government, and has since been affected by psychological well being issues.
In its defence, the AA denied Mr Mackenzie’s claims that fellow administrators had been conscious of stress he stated he had been beneath within the build-up to the incident, and accused him of repeatedly stalling plans to recruit a brand new chief government.
The monetary stakes of their authorized battle are doubtlessly vital as a result of the AA has taken steps to grab management of roughly 33 million shares that Mr Mackenzie believes could possibly be value as much as £220m.
In its defence, legal professionals for the AA stated it had supplied to “undertake to not cancel or re-issue or re-allocate the Administration Worth Plan shares to another member of employees of director previous to the conclusion of those proceedings” if Mr Mackenzie agrees to their switch by April 12.
That deadline was missed, resulting in the AA taking “the required steps to register the switch of the Mackenzie shares” on April 16, it stated.
Beneath the phrases of the motivation scheme, Mr Mackenzie was handed 55% of the taking part shares, which might pay out primarily based on returns to AA shareholders between three and 5 years after their award.
Nevertheless, the roadside restoration firm, which used to type itself as “the fourth emergency service”, has seen a calamitous decline in its share value, casting doubt over whether or not the MVP shares will ever have any materials worth.
Within the doc seen by Sky Information, the AA provides an enterprise to switch Mr Mackenzie’s share pot again to him if “the court docket determines that the claimant was not a Unhealthy Leaver for the needs of the MVP Share Scheme”.
The AA’s defence additionally sheds additional mild on potential company exercise thought of by the corporate, together with a takeover method early final yr which Sky Information has disclosed was made by the buyout agency Hellman & Friedman.
In his declare, Mr Mackenzie alleged that the motivation for his sacking was that government colleagues wished to take away him as a result of he objected to a merger or takeover.
The AA denied that this had been the case, suggesting that he had been “in favour of exploring it additional and attended two conferences with representatives of the non-public fairness agency”.
Mr Mackenzie has additionally filed a declare towards the AA at an employment tribunal, whereas the corporate is looking for to claw again from Mr Mackenzie greater than £1.2m in bonuses in addition to potential damages regarding the adversarial affect of latest occasions on the corporate’s popularity.
Mr Mackenzie was liable for bringing the AA to the London inventory market in 2014, nevertheless it has since been wrestling with a closely indebted steadiness sheet.
Simon Breakwell, the corporate’s new chief government, has lower its dividend and warned on earnings as he seeks to scale back its debt pile.
On Monday afternoon, shares within the AA had been buying and selling at 139p, giving the corporate a market capitalisation of simply £850m.
The shares have slumped by 47% over the past yr