RAC drives on with Rake amid flotation boom

RAC has appointed CBI president Sir Michael Rake as its chairman today, as the major UK roadside breakdown recovery and car insurance firm considers whether to go ahead with a potential float this month, with the possibility of a retail offering.

Rake has a wealth of board experience, also currently serving as chairman of major telecommunications firm BT group, and as deputy chairman of Barclays bank. He also previously served as chairman of budget airline EasyJet.

He said: “RAC has a powerful brand and an exciting future. It is trusted by over eight million members and the significant investment that has gone into the business over the past three years positions RAC for continuing growth.”

Chris Woodhouse, chief executive of RAC said: “Mike brings a new and fresh perspective to RAC as well as significant business acumen. He adds unparalleled board experience as we enter an exciting stage of our corporate development and move into the next stage of our growth.”

There are a number of other fresh additions to the board, with David Lowden to take up the role of senior independent director, and Peter Plumb and Cilla Snowball CBE becoming non-executive directors.

Rob Templeman, the current RAC chairman, will stay on the board and move to a non-executive director role.

The boardroom changes take place as RAC, owned by private equity firm Carlyle Group since 2011, is being lined up for a potential IPO, with Bank of America believed to have been appointed as an adviser, joining others including Lazard, Barclays, Citi, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.

The RAC, which in addition to considering a float is also looking at its options with private equity firms, is believed to be seriously considering the possibility of including a retail offering if a float went ahead, with an intermediary broker firm like Hargreaves Lansdown likely to manage any retail offering.

With a service dating back to 1897, the RAC currently has 8.2m members, and last year the group saw its earnings rise 11 per cent to £152m, with revenue up six per cent to £485m.

If the RAC did go ahead with a float it would follow its rival AA, which was valued at £1.4bn at its IPO in June. The AA’s chief executive Chris Jansen resigned on Thursday.

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