Morrisons group finance director Richard Pennycook has joined the board of fast-growing etailer The Hut Group sparking further IPO speculation.

Pennycook, who revealed in June that he is to exit Morrisons next year, has become non-executive director. He is the latest high profile retailer to join The Hut Group, which counts former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy and ex M&S chairman Sir Stuart Rose among its backers, which is understood to be eyeing a float next year.

Pennycook told Retail Week: “I’ve been interested in online and multichannel for some time. The Hut Group operates a compelling and disruptive business model with tremendous growth opportunities.”

Pennycook, who is also chairman of Morrisons-owned etailer Kiddicare, said The Hut Group chief executive Matt Moulding has done a “great job to build this business from scratch”. 

“If you look at the development of online and multichannel, the technology is the key differentiator,” he said. “That’s what The Hut and Kiddicare have in common; they built proprietary software to give it a competitive edge.”

Pennycook joins current chairman, former Matalan boss Angus Monro, on The Hut board. It is thought that he could be in line to replace Monro as chairman if the business floats.

Pennycook admitted that his experience conversing with the City would be a benefit if the business is to float as expected.

He said: “It’s obviously one thing that I bring to the party, they’ve clearly got options open to them.”

Moulding said: “Richard has a strong appreciation of online and great City credentials. It’s great to have him on the team.”

Pennycook said the retailer has much opportunity to grow, in particular within its international business. It is understood that around a third of its sales come from overseas at the moment.