UK online grocery retailer Ocado on Tuesday (19 September) announced the appointment of BBC chairman Michael Grade as its own non-executive chairman. The move has fuelled press speculation that the company is gearing up for a stock market flotation, rumours which the retailer has denied.
Grade will start at the Waitrose tie-up in October following his stepping down as chairman of Hemscott, but will remain as chairman of the BBC and non-executive chairman of Pinewood Shepperton.

Ocado CEO and co-founder Tim Steiner: “We are thrilled that Michael has accepted our invitation to become our first, independent non executive chairman. Michael brings a unique range of business experience and wisdom to our board. 

“In particular, his media savvy will be invaluable in advising on all aspects of our communication with our customer, the heart of our business. We regard Michael’s acceptance of the role as an important milestone in the development of Ocado.”
Grade said: “I was particularly attracted by the Ocado team who have built an amazing business from scratch in just six years. I was already a very satisfied customer. Ocado is the market leader in customer-service in a fiercely competitive industry. I am delighted to be joining them at this exciting stage of their growth in a market predicted to be worth GBP6.25bn (US$11.86bn) by 2010.”