Bob Mackenzie: fighting talk
Six months after being fired for punching a colleague, former AA boss Bob Mackenzie has not lost his appetite for a spat. It emerged this week he will take the breakdown cover group to a tribunal, claiming wrongful dismissal and damages. Mackenzie reckons he was pushed out of the company in part for trying to block a deal with insurer Hastings, which would have been good for senior execs and bad for shareholders. But he gave the company a handy excuse to oust him when he got into a punch-up with insurance division boss Michael Lloyd at a country hotel away day — “gross misconduct” in the AA’s judgment.
City Insider hears he ended up on the floor of the bar with a colleague on top of him. He was later hospitalised and his son has pointed to mental health problems. Mackenzie, it appears, has form. Years ago, City Insider’s man in Rugby witnessed an altercation in a school car park. More recently, Mackenzie was involved in another fracas in a public place, in which he broke his own ankle. The outcome of the row with the AA is a big deal. They have already made attempts to recoup £1.2m of bonus payments. And as a “bad leaver”, he faces the loss of share options with a potential value of “scores of millions” (assuming the AA’s share price recovers by next year). The damages sought at the Bristol tribunal will be up to £300,000, still paltry in boardroom terms. But if it turns him into a “good leaver”, it could secure his options. Wallop.
Stephen Barclay: unhealthy recipe
Financiers are dismayed to see the old City minister Stephen Barclay shifted to the Department of Health after barely six months in the job. Following the sacking last summer of his nice-but-clueless predecessor Simon Kirby (financial experience: founding a Brighton nightclub chain), the City was delighted with Barclay, whose career had spanned spells at Axa, Barclays and the financial regulator). The jury is out on new man John Glen — his CV suggests a smart politician, who has had stints at Accenture along the way. But however good he is, three people in seven months is hardly the continuity of representation the City wants as Brexit looms. Did someone say strong and stable?
Gary Hoffman: sent to Coventry
Being sent to Coventry is not everyone’s idea of fun but Gary Hoffman might well go voluntarily. The chief executive of FTSE 250 insurer Hastings is about to make the move up to non-executive chairman, leaving him more time to devote to his beloved Coventry City FC. It can’t be easy juggling the two — just imagine the away games in Carlisle (a 13-hour round trip from Hastings on the south coast), Grimsby (nine hours) or Exeter (eight hours). He’ll also have more time to devote to his long-running (and so far foiled) attempts to buy the club from hedge fund Sisu, under whose stewardship crowds have collapsed as the club has dropped from championship to second division. Game on.
Man Group: L’oeuf affair
A copy of the Man Cooker (geddit?) recipe book has landed on City Insider’s desk — filled with dozens of fancy recipes from around the world submitted by Man’s staff and friends in aid of literacy charity Room to Read. The highlight came from French-born investment chief Pierre-Henri Flamand, whose recipe for a fried egg (ingredients: one egg, one knob of butter) is a triumph. Flamand tells City Insider: “The recipe is no yoke. As every Frenchman knows, un oeuf is enough.”
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