The former chief executive of car breakdown giant AA has faced extraordinary criticism from a judge for giving unreliable evidence in the High Court
Battle: Simon Breakwell led the AA
The former chief executive of car breakdown giant AA has faced extraordinary criticism from a judge for giving unreliable evidence in the High Court.
In a damning summary last week, Simon Breakwell was accused of being inconsistent. The judge complained that he could “give no real weight to his assertions”.
The remarks came at the end of a bitter legal row between AA and the company’s former advisers, Fenchurch Advisory Partners.
In his ruling, Deputy High Court Judge Sean O’Sullivan said: ‘With perhaps one exception, I have found that all of these fact witnesses were doing their best to assist the court and were reasonably honest. and direct about their recollection of the events.
“The only exception to the general rule was Mr Breakwell, who claimed to remember what was said and wanted in meetings that took place nearly three years ago.” But the judge said Breakwell’s testimony “did not always match contemporary material”, adding that he “convinced himself of a particular account and was determined to press that account”.
Breakwell said he “perfectly remembered” details of what was said in meetings three years ago, but was unable to explain simpler details afterwards.
He took over the reins of AA in 2017, when he replaced Bob Mackenzie, who was fired for getting into a fight with a fellow executive.
Breakwell, who co-founded travel website Expedia and led Uber’s taxi expansion in Europe, has since joined fund manager City Fairview Equity Partners.
AA declined to comment, except to say that Breakwell was no longer on its board.
Breakwell has also been contacted for comment through his new venture.
The case involved a lawsuit from Fenchurch, which worked with the AA in the unsuccessful sale of its insurance division, otherwise known as “Project Zodiac”. AA then fell out with the adviser in a row over more than £350,000 in unpaid fees linked to the failed deal. Breakwell served as general manager throughout the negotiations. The AA, which was bought by private equity in 2020, was ordered to pay Fenchurch the full amount owed.