Ocado Retail boss to step down as online grocer begins hunt for new CEO
Ocado Retail has said its CEO Melanie Smith will step down next month, after three years at the helm of the business.
Former deputy CEO of the company, Lawrence Hene, will take over on an interim basis while a hunt for a permanent replacement takes place.
The supermarket has struggled with waning average basket spending as shoppers have flocked back to physical stores after the pandemic.
“It has been a privilege to lead the Ocado Retail team over the last three years,” Smith said on Tuesday afternoon.
She added: “In this period, we have successfully established the joint venture as the UK’s best online grocer with outstanding service, introduced M&S Food to online consumers for the first time, and played our part in feeding the nation through the Covid pandemic.”
The online grocer performed well during the pandemic, where restrictions pushed households with extra lockdown cash towards home delivery-driven shopping, with many Brits deterred by in-store experiences.
Tech firm Ocado Group – which owns 50 per cent of the online grocery website alongside Marks and Spencer – has failed to shake off growing pre-tax losses, swallowing a £52.3m and £176.9m hit in 2020 and 2021 respectively.
The group will post its half-year financial results on Thursday, with investors eager to see what the company will say about potential price rises.