BBC chairman aims to help company slim losses
Ocado has hired Michael Grade as non-executive chairman, fuelling speculation that the food e-tail service is gearing up for a possible float. The floatation may take place as soon as 2008 and although the Ocado business, in which John Lewis Partnership holds a stake, is expected to make a pre-tax loss this year, Grade could provide the company with guidance it needs to help slim losses.

The BBC chairman will become Ocado's first non-executive chairman when he joins the firm in October, following stepping down as chairman of financial services firm Hemscott. Ocado chief executive and co-founder Tim Steiner said the appointment was 'an important milestone' for the company. 'His media savvy will be invaluable in advising on all aspects of communication with our customers.'

Michael Grade added: '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£6.25 billion by 2010.' Grade will remain chairman of the BBC and non-executive chairman of Pinewood Shepperton.

The appointment is the latest in a series of high profile board appointment in recent months. In May, Sainsbury's appointed BBC newsreader Anna Ford as a non-executive director and AIM listed firm Hot Tuna appointed supermodel Elle MacPherson to the board as executive director in July.