AA says it is "astonished" over legal action by its former chairman

Oliver Gill
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Chairman Bob Mackenzie was fired on the grounds of gross misconduct last summer

Motoring organisation the AA today hit back against Bob Mackenzie after the company’s former chairman launched a legal challenge against his sacking.

Mackenzie was fired for gross misconduct last summer following an altercation at luxurious Surrey country hotel, Pennyhill Park.

"We are astonished that Mr Mackenzie is taking this to an employment tribunal,” a spokesperson for the AA said.

“We stand by our decision to dismiss him for gross misconduct following his sustained and violent assault on another employee of the AA.”

The AA’s legal team is understood to be pursuing Mackenzie to repay £1.2m in bonuses.

Mackenzie was involved in a row with the AA’s insurance boss Mike Lloyd at the Surrey hotel, footage of which was captured on a security camera.

The incident, and Mackenzie’s subsequent dismissal, contributed to one of the most shocking and unexpected dramas in the Square Mile last year. A disagreement over the future of the insurance arm is believed to have sparked the row.

Mackenzie’s son, Peter Mackenzie, previously said his father had been suffering from mental health problems.

“This is an extremely distressing mental health issue,” he said at the time of the dismissal.

“My father tendered his resignation this morning and resigned his directorship due to acute ill health, from which he has been suffering symptoms for some time. He is very unwell and has been admitted to hospital.”

Shares in AA plummeted last summer in the wake of Mackenzie’s sacking and have failed to recoup lost ground, currently trading more than 30 per cent lower than July prices.

Mackenzie was central to the AA’s innovative flotation three-and-a-half years ago, which was backed by a string of big name investors such as Neil Woodford and Blackrock.

AA shares were unmoved by today's statement, closing 0.43 per cent higher on the day.

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