THERE is a new man in charge at of the ‘UK’s fourth emergency service’ – the Basingstoke-headquartered Automobile Association.

Chris Jansen was formerly at British Gas where he was an executive, and will now steer the leading breakdown motoring organisation, which also provides car insurance and driving lessons, along with loans and credit card operations.

Mr Jansen is already familiar with the AA because the organisation used to be owned by Centrica, which is the parent company of British Gas.

The AA’s parent company is now Acromas, which owns the over-50s travel and financial servi-ces group Saga, where Mr Jansen’s predecessor Andrew Strong has moved to be chief executive of Saga Holidays.

Mr Jansen said: “I am delighted to be here and am very excited about the future.

“The opportunity to lead the AA – such a well loved and trusted company – was one I couldn’t resist.

“My mother was very happy when I told her and proudly showed me my father’s old AA badge.

“It’s been really good to meet so many of the AA team already here in Basingstoke. Just walking into Fanum House, seeing the plaque from the Queen’s opening ceremony some 40 years ago and the vintage bikes, gives a real sense of history.

“I’m also making my way round the country – often in the passenger seat of a yellow van – spending as much time as possible with patrols and frontline staff at our other sites.

“I have only been here for a few days but there are literally thousands of years of experience within the AA.

“My challenge is how do I harness all of this, listen to the ideas of our people and then focus to make the great ideas a reality for our customers.”

Welcoming Mr Jansen to the AA, the motoring group’s chairman Andrew Goodsell said that the new chief executive has an excellent background and relevant experience from working in senior positions with British Gas, Centrica, British Airways and Proctor & Gamble.

Mr Goodsell said: “His appointment follows on from the successful refinancing last year. With Chris at the helm, the AA is well positioned to build on the successes of last year as the UK pulls out of recession.

“We are investing for the future with plans of investment in fleet, equipment and diagnostic tools of over £100 million over the next four years.

“With our recent business-to-business successes and expansion in the home emergency market, the AA is in great shape to expand the business in the new year under the leadership of Chris.”