Roadside recovery and motor insurance company AA has fired Executive Chairman Bob Mackenzie for gross misconduct and lowered its full-year forecasts, sending its shares sliding as much as 18 percent to a record low.
Mackenzie became AA's executive chairman after leading a management buy-in in June 2014, when the company also floated on the stock market having previously been owned by private equity firms Permira, Charterhouse and CVC.
Some analysts said investors had been hoping Mackenzie would turn the company around and his departure could be taken badly, although others said there were tangible signs of improvements in performance coming through already.
'Bob Mackenzie has been removed by the board from his role as executive chairman, from his other roles and as a director and as an employee of the company, for gross misconduct, with immediate effect,' AA said in a statement.
'This is a personal conduct matter,' an AA spokeswoman said, declining to give more detail. She said Mackenzie was not being referred to financial industry regulators.
But Mr Mackenzie's son, Peter, told The Times his father is suffering from an 'extremely distressing mental health issue'.
He added: 'My father tendered his resignation this morning and resigned his directorships due to acute ill health, from which he has been suffering symptoms for some time.
'A consultant clinical psychologist advised him last week that he needed to take at least six months leave. He is very unwell and has been admitted to