AA shares jump on insurance guru board pick

Oliver Gill
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The AA said last week it would "accelerate" its expansion into insurance (Source: Getty)

AA shares roared this morning after the breakdown giant appointed an insurance heavyweight to its board.

Cathryn Riley, currently the chair of AA's in-house insurance broker, is to become a non-executive director with immediate effect. Riley is Aviva's former chief operations officer and a non-exec at the likes of Equitable Life and insurance underwriter Chubb.

Previously, she was a management consultant at Coopers & Lybrand and led a transformation of healthcare giant BUPA.

AA was the leading gainer on the FTSE All-Share today, with shares rising over seven per cent.

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"I am delighted that Cathryn has agreed to join the board at this time," said AA chairman John Leach.

"She has been a great asset to the AA as chair of our insurance broker. She is an experienced non-executive director with focus in insurance, financial services and IT transformation which will provide further strength and depth to the board. I believe that she will bring valuable experience and perspective."

AA's return to form comes after markets shuddered in response to a turnaround plan unveiled last week. Around a third was wiped off AA's stock market valuation and the firm was set to fall out of the FTSE 250 during last night's reshuffle.

After decades as a breakdown firm, the AA has developed its insurance offering in recent years. The firm said it would "accelerate" its expansion into the sector.

It will also provide star fund manager Neil Woodford with a second day of bumper gains. Yesterday, Woodford's shares in troubled doorstep lender increased by around £150m in value as shares soared 70 per cent. His eponymous funds are the AA's second-biggest shareholder.

Read more: AA shares crash as investors break down in response to turnaround plan

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