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AA seeks new chairman to steer recovery plan

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LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 07:  Stewart Topp, current holder of the 'AA Patrol of the Year' award, is pictured in his van on April 7, 2010 in London, England. AA patrol staff members of the Independent Democratic Union have voted to go on strike in a dispute over pensions. Should the industrial action take place, it would be the first walkout in the AA's 105-year history.  (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

AA, Britain's largest auto organization, began its search for a new president two years after the current president's predecessor was fired because of an explosion in a bar.

Sky News found that AA's board hired research firm Korn Ferry to find a successor to John Leach.

City sources said this weekend that a new non-executive would be recruited to join the board early next year as president-designate before taking over from Leach this summer.

The search is being led by Andrew Blowers, senior senior director of AA, and comes at a time when AA continues to struggle to convince investors that it can successfully face its huge debts.

Under CEO Simon Breakwell, AA has embarked on a strategy to put data and technology at the heart of a company that has more than 12 million consumers and business customers.

This month, it announced a partnership with Uber that will give ride-to-ride drivers in 40 UK cities access to AA road recovery services.

It will also involve integrating AA into the Uber application, as analysts see it as an important test of Breakwell's efforts to bring the company to a digitally led approach to serving customers and business partners.

Best known for its traditional positioning as "Britain's fourth emergency service," AA remains profitable, but is struggling financially after being indebted to its former private equity owners.

It floated on the stock exchange in 2014 and was founded in 1905 by a group of motoring enthusiasts.

The company was demutualized in the 1990s before being sold to British Gas's parent company Centrica, and then unloaded again in 2004.

Best known for its roadside recovery operations, AA also has a large financial services company that includes insurance products as well as credit cards and loans issued in partnership with the Bank of Ireland.

It also owns the AA Driving School and the British Motoring School.

Last year, AA had revenues of £ 979 million, but said in its mid-September update in September that the association would be broadly stable this year as its transformation plan continues.

Leach, who has served on AA's board since 2014, replaced Bob Mackenzie, who was fired as CEO for alleged serious misconduct in 2017.

A legal fight between Mackenzie and the company ensued and has not yet been fully resolved.

AA declined to comment Sunday on Leach's decision to resign next year.

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