Jan Smith, the controversial group strategic director of the RAC, is to quit the company. She will leave in January but is refusing to reveal her destination.
She joined the RAC in June 1995 as group strategic director and took over the responsibilities of managing director Frank Richardson in February 1996, although her job title remained the same.
The former Mazda and First Direct marketing director oversaw the 12m repositioning this year of the motoring organisation as a transport company, away from its earlier emphasis as a breakdown service.
The RAC introduced a no-claims bonus for policy holders, insurance for cyclists and opened talks with London Underground and Railtrack to launch a joint transport smartcard (MW April 24).
“I know where I am going and will take the next three months to sort it out,” says Smith. “The timing is right. When I arrived there was a big job to do at the RAC and we have managed membership growth and increased profits. We have developed a strategic plan for the next five years. There are three key projects to complete and I will do that before I leave.”
There have been persistent rumours that Smith was preparing to leave the company and the repositioning and branding has met with criticism.
But RAC chief executive Neil Johnson says: “Without Jan’s vision and determination we would not have achieved the repositioning as rapidly and successfully as we have.”
It is understood Smith may be planning to become a consultant.