Ocado overhauls marketing in company restructure

Ocado’s founder Jason Gissing will take on strategic responsibility for marketing as part of a restructure of the senior management team prompted by the surprise departure of its chief financial officer Andrew Bracey.

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Gissing, currently executive director, will formally oversee Ocado’s retail activities, customer relationships, marketing and brand development in the newly created commercial director role.

At the same time, Wendy Becker, former group CMO at Vodafone and managing director of TalkTalk will join the company as an independent non-executive director.

Ocado’s current head of marketing insight and communication, Matthew Knight remains in the same role with day-to-day responsibility for marketing.

Bracey is leaving the online retailer in April to go to recruitment specialist Michael Page. Ocado has not yet named his successor.

Mark Richardson, currently Ocado’s head of technology will take on the newly created board level operations director role.

Chairman Michael Grade says the restructure will allow CEO Tim Steiner “greater freedom to drive Ocado’s strategy forward” and increase the reach and profitability if the business.

Ocado warned in December that its profits this year are likely to be hit as it experienced capacity problems in its warehouse, and it reported a market slowdown in sales in the final quarter of the year.

The online retailer’s shares jumped on Friday, leading to speculation that there is a bid in the pipeline, but analysts have said this would be surprising, adding that the departure of the CFO ahead of a bid would be unlikely. Bracey’s departure has hit shares this morning, pushing them around 7% down in early morning trading.

Clive Black, analyst at Shore Capital says that because Ocado’s recent performance has been “disappointing” there is a need for “meaningful change to presumably sharpen the operating performance”.

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