Our clients


RAC is the UK’s second largest motoring organisation, providing roadside assistance, insurance and legal services to 7 million private and business motorists. Headquartered in Birmingham, RAC has over 4,000 employees based at four sites throughout the UK. In 2005, the company was acquired by Aviva plc and attempts were made to integrate it into the organisation. However, it was soon recognised that RAC was not a core part of the Aviva business model and in early 2011 Aviva announced its intention to sell RAC and invited bids. After a competitive process RAC was sold to global asset manager, The Carlyle Group, for £1 billion.

The sales process was completed over the summer of 2011, with a view to RAC coming under full Carlyle ownership at the end of September 2011. This was recognised by both organisations as an extremely challenging timescale in which to separate the RAC from partial integration with Aviva and to establish it as a separate, freestanding entity under Carlyle ownership. The restructuring implications ranged from financial and IT infrastructure, to legal agreements and HR policies, processes and related conditions.

The senior management team recognised that extra focus and support would be required to ensure a successful transition within the restrictive deadline, particularly in terms of HR deliverables. As a result, Independent was approached to provide high level, in-depth on-site support, adding to its significant experience of working closely with private equity.

HR challenges and achievements

A senior Independent HR professional was embedded at RAC as interim HR Director, serving on the executive committee of RAC and reporting to the CEO. Onsite and fully integrated in the organisation, Independent played a key role in developing and implementing a separation plan to establish the new business, which involved:

  • creating a separate organisational structure

  • selecting a significant number of employees who would be transferring to the new organisation

  • defining all business activities within the new organisation

  • establishing and running all employee consultation processes including TUPE and contracts

  • establishing new pension scheme arrangements based on defined contributions, designed to be attractive to existing employees and new hires

  • developing new incentive arrangements together with plans for pay and reward policies

  • together with the CEO, conducting a Talent Management review focusing on High Potentials and key skills gaps, particularly in areas like insurance where the business is planning to expand

  • driving a major recruitment campaign utilising social media and targeting specialised roles in order to build the skill base of the organisation

  • strengthening the commercial functions within the new business including senior hiring at executive committee level

  • conducting consultations with the union, Unite, such that there were no grievances or disputes incurred throughout the project

The project was successfully completed on budget in an extremely short, 20 week timescale, after which a celebration was held to mark the completion of sale and recognise RAC’s independence.