Tuesday 16 January 2018

Former M&S boss Stuart Rose to take over at rising online grocer Ocado

BRITISH online grocer Ocado said Stuart Rose, the former boss of clothing and food retailer Marks & Spencer, would succeed Michael Grade as chairman in May.

The firm said this morning Rose had been appointed as an independent non-executive director and chairman designate with effect from March 11.

It said Rose would succeed broadcasting industry executive Grade, chairman for six years, when he retires after the firm's AGM on May 10. Rose, who has worked in the retail sector for 41 years, was CEO at M&S from 2004-2008.

His move to an executive chairman role at M&S in 2008, a post he held for three years, was controversial as it contravened best corporate governance guidelines which frown on a CEO moving to an executive chairman position.

Ocado, founded in 2000 by three former Goldman Sachs bankers and floated at 180 pence a share in 2010, has polarised opinion like few other market debutants.

Fans point to rapid growth in online grocery sales and high customer service ratings. Sceptics say its model of filling orders from central depots will never be as profitable as online operations at established grocers, which mostly pick orders in store and are seeing faster online sales growth than Ocado.

Last week Ocado said gross sales rose over 14pc in the six weeks to January 6 and it was on track to open a new warehouse that will double its capacity.

Shares in Ocado, up 40pc over the last three months, closed Monday at 95 pence, valuing the business at £550m.


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