Woodhouse to lead Carlyle’s RAC

The Carlyle Group has recruited former Debenhams finance director Chris Woodhouse, reuniting him with Rob Templeman at RAC.

The Carlyle Group has brought in former Debenhams finance director Chris Woodhouse to head up UK roadside assistance business RAC.

The appointment reunites Woodhouse with Rob Templeman, the RAC chairman who as former chief executive of Debenhams worked with him on the successful turnaround of the department store chain.

Debenhams’ acquisition and subsequent float delivered significant returns for co-investors TPG Capital, CVC Capital Partners and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity, although its post-IPO performance drew criticism that its previous owners had left it ill-prepared for life as a public company.

Templeman and Woodhouse also worked together in turnarounds at home improvement chain Homebase and automotive and leisure retailer Halfords.

Carlyle acquired The RAC from Aviva in a £1 billion deal in June last year, amid fierce competition from other private equity firms including Bain Capital, BC Partners and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. Woodhouse, who stepped down from Debenhams in January, will have the task of developing the RAC brand, which is 115 years old.

Woodhouse will remain non-executive chairman of lingerie retailer Agent Provocateur and Gondola Group, the owner of the Pizza Express and Zizzi restaurant chains.