AA calls for former chairman to repay bonuses

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The former chairman of the AA is facing pressure from the company to pay back more than £1.2 million in bonuses following an allegation that he was involved in a public altercation not disclosed to the board.

The breakdown recovery and car insurance firm is said to have written to Bob Mackenzie demanding he repay annual bonuses stretching from 2016 to 2017.

Mr Mackenzie was sacked by the AA in August for gross misconduct.

Reports had linked his dismissal to an attempted spin-off of the AA's insurance arm, which led to a physical altercation between Mr Mackenzie and insurance chief Michael Lloyd.

However, the letter from the AA to Mr Mackenzie refers to an earlier altercation in a public place with someone not thought to be an employee of the company, a source told Sky News.

According to the company's annual report, the ousted chairman was paid an annual bonus of £707,000 in 2016 and £514,000 in 2017.

Mr Mackenzie's lawyers are reportedly expected to contest the AA's push for him to repay the bonuses.

It comes after the AA announced last month that it had appointed Simon Breakwell as permanent chief executive as part of a top-level shake-up.

John Leach will become chairman, Andrew Blowers is appointed senior independent director and Suzi Williams has taken over from Mr Breakwell as chair of the remuneration committee.

The company made the announcement alongside its half-year results, which saw pre-tax profits rise 67% to £80 million in the six months to July 31.

Operating profit rose 35% to £178 million as the firm was helped by a 13% increase in new members, with its total membership now standing at 3.32 million.